Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

The Dynamics of a Three-Dimensional Ocean Overturning Circulation

Speaker: Andrew Thompson, Caltech

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 3:30 p.m.


The ocean's overturning circulation inherently has a three-dimensional structure. Yet, modern quantitative estimates of this circulation typically represent the overturning as a two-dimensional, two-cell streamfunction that varies with latitude and depth. This approach suppresses information about zonal mass and tracer transport as well as key mechanisms for re-organization of the global circulation across different climate regimes. This talk will focus on an idealized dynamical model of a three-dimensional overturning circulation. It will also highlight how deviations from zonal-mean properties, especially in the Southern Ocean, are key to understanding the global overturning circulation, its response to a changing climate and ocean-cryosphere interactions at the Antarctic margins.