David Ferreira
Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, UK


Effective Ocean Heat Transport


One of the primary mechanisms by which oceans regulate Earth’s climate is through redistribution of heat. However, interpretation of ocean heat transport (OHT) has been obscured by internal heat loops that are confined within the ocean and are not directly relevant to Earth’s energy budget. Here we present a new perspective on OHT by eliminating internal oceanic heat loops to reveal the net effects of OHT as part of the climate system, the effective OHT. Our result challenges the previous paradigm, which emphasized global conveyor belt concepts, by highlighting the leading role being played by the tropical and subtropical Pacific in transporting heat poleward in both hemispheres. This shift in interpretation reflects that the influence of inter-ocean exchanges has previously been over-estimated, which could have major implications in the context of climate change. Furthermore, our analysis framework bridges a gap between direct estimation of OHT from oceanic measurements and indirect estimation of OHT via atmospheric energy budgets. It also provides means to calibrate otherwise inconsistent OHT estimates, which will allow for more meaningful model-data comparisons.


Time and Place

Tuesday June 5th 2018, 11.15
Rossbysalen C609, Arrhenius Laboratory, 6th floor