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Local and remote impacts of a tropical Atlantic salinity anomaly

Abstract : The climatic impacts of an enhanced evaporation prescribed during 50 years in the tropical Atlantic are investigated in a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. Locally, the salinity increase leads to a rapid deepening and cooling of the surface mixed layer. This induces a deepening of the equatorial undercurrent and an intensification of the south equatorial current. A remote atmospheric response to the tropical Atlantic perturbation is detected in the North Atlantic sector after ten years. It has the form of a robust wave-like tropospheric perturbation seemingly excited by the weakening of atmospheric deep convection over the Amazonian basin. Meanwhile, the salt anomaly is carried northward by the mean oceanic circulation. It is traced up to the convection sites and then on its return path at depth towards lower latitudes. Consistent with the density increase, deep convection is enhanced after the arrival of the salt anomaly and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) intensifies about 20 years after the beginning of the perturbation. The adjustment of the tropical Atlantic to the AMOC intensification then modifies its initial response to the freshwater forcing, leading to a weaker cooling in the northern tropical Atlantic than in the southern tropical Atlantic, a slight northward shift of the tropical Atlantic precipitation pattern and an intensification of the North Brazil current. On the other hand, no significant anomalous precipitations are found in the Pacific. The initial remote atmospheric response is also modulated, by an NAO-like response to the AMOC intensification.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00758937
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 3:54:08 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 3:30:24 PM

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Juliette Mignot, Claude Frankignoul. Local and remote impacts of a tropical Atlantic salinity anomaly. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2010, 35, pp.1133-1147. ⟨10.1007/S00382-009-0621-9⟩. ⟨hal-00758937⟩

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