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<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Since the formulation of the Stommel two-box model for the meridional overturning circulation (MOC), various theoretical and conceptual models for the MOC emerged based on scaling the MOC strength with the north south density difference. At the same time the MOC should obey geostrophic balance with an east-west density difference. Scaling with the north south density gradient seems to violate the common assumption of geostrophic balance for the large-scaledoi:10.5194/osd-10-2461-2013 fatcat:dmr2xskzeja27bolhrdhxsxmsq