Cover pWave breaking in Meñakoz Cove, Basque Country. Photo by Jon del Rivero.
Cover picture: Wave breaking in Meñakoz Cove, Basque Country. Photo by Jon del Rivero.



Aitor Aldama Campino, PhD candidate
Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Sweden


Atmospheric and oceanic circulation from a thermodynamic perspective


The climate system is continuously transporting and exchanging heat, freshwater, carbon and other tracers in different spatio-temporal scales. Therefore, analysing the system from a thermodynamic or biogeochemical framework is highly convenient. In this thesis the interaction between the ocean and the atmospheric circulation is analysed using thermodynamical and biogeochemical coordinates. Due to the dimensionality of the climate system stream functions are used to reduce this complexity and facilitate the understanding of the different processes that take place. The first half of this thesis, focuses on the interaction between the atmospheric and the ocean circulation from a thermodynamic perspective. We introduce the hydrothermohaline stream function which combines the atmospheric circulation in humidity-potential temperature (hydrothermal) space and the ocean circulation in salinity-temperature coordinates (thermohaline). A scale factor of 7.1 is proposed to link humidity and salinity coordinates. Future scenarios are showing an increase of humidity in the atmosphere due to the increase of temperatures which results in a widening of the hydrothermal stream function along the humidity coordinate. In a similar way, the ocean circulation in the thermohaline space expands along the salinity coordinate. The link between salinity and humidity changes is strongest at net evaporation regions where the gain of water vapour in the atmosphere results in a salinification in the ocean. In addition, the ocean circulation in latitude-carbon space is investigated. By doing so, we are able to distinguish the roles of different water masses and circulation pathways for ocean carbon. We find that the surface waters in the subtropical gyres are the main drivers of the meridional carbon transport in the ocean. By separating the carbon in its different constituents we show that the carbon transported by the majority of the water masses is a result of the solubility pump. The contribution of the biological pump is predominant in the deep Pacific Ocean. The effects of the Mediterranean Overflow Waters on the North Atlantic are discussed in the final part of the thesis.

Time and Place

Thursday October 24, 2019, at 10.00

DeGeersalen, Geoscience Building, Svante Arrhenius väg 8