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Interannual variation of Gulf Stream heat transport in a high resolution model forced by reanalysis data

Abstract : The variability present in a 1/6th degree Atlantic ocean simulation forced by analysed wind stress and heat flux over a 20-year period is investigated by means of heat transport diagnostics. A section is defined which follows the Gulf Stream and its seaward extension, and transport of heat across this section is analysed to reveal the physical mechanisms responsible for 'inter- gyre' heat exchanges on a variety of time scales. Heat transport across another section that crosses the Gulf Stream is also diagnosed to reveal the temporal behav- iour of the 'gyre' circulation. The Ekman response to wind stress variations accounts for the annual cycle and much of the interannual variability in both measures. For the intergyre heat transports, cancellation by transient- mean flow terms leads to a very weak annual cycle. Transient eddies account for approximately half the total intergyre transport of 0.7 Petawatts. They also account for a significant fraction of the interannual variability, but separate experiments with repeated-annual-cycle forcing indicate that the transient eddy component of the heat transport variability is internally generated. Links between the intergyre transport, the wind-driven gyre circulation, the surface heat budget and the atmospheric 'North Atlantic Oscillation' are discussed.
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N. M. J. Hall, Bernard Barnier, Thierry Penduff, Jean-Marc Molines. Interannual variation of Gulf Stream heat transport in a high resolution model forced by reanalysis data. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2004, 23, pp.341-351. ⟨10.1007/s00382-004-0449-2⟩. ⟨hal-00356730⟩

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