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Task Team 1: AMOC Observing System Implementation and Evaluation

The team is charged with the design and implementation of an AMOC monitoring system. AMOC monitoring in the US is currently accomplished by a collection of in-situ field programs and large-scale observations including: ARGO, the Global Drifter Array, and collection of satellites returning ocean surface and meteorological information.   

View TT1 Near- and Long-Term Priorities


US AMOC Task Team 1 Members
Member name Institution
Magdalena Andres, chair Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Kathleen Donohue, vice-chair University of Rhode Island
Molly Baringer NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Charles Eriksen University of Washington
Gustavo Goni NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Patrick Heimbach University of Texas at Austin
Bill Johns University of Miami
Felix Landerer Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Isabel LeBras Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Craig Lee University of Washington
Susan Lozier Duke University
Chris Meinen NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Renellys Perez University of Miami/NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Thomas Rossby University of Rhode Island
Uwe Send UCSD/Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Bill Smethie Columbia University
John Toole Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Nico Wienders Florida State University


Near-term priorities

  • Improve understanding of the meridional coherence (and/or lack thereof) of the AMOC and the mechanisms that control AMOC variability. Characterize and investigate coherence within the subpolar and subtropical gyres, communication between the gyres, and communication of changes across the equator to the South Atlantic.
  • Develop dynamically consistent model-data synthesis methods to combine the heterogeneous observational components.
  • Seek new potential funding mechanisms to sustain key elements of the US AMOC observational networks.
  • Better characterize the deep ocean to quantify the role of deep temperature and salinity signals that contribute to AMOC variability through enhancements to the observing system that directly measure deep ocean properties (temperature, salinity, and velocity) such as Deep Argo, Deep gliders, and moored instrumentation.
  • Ensure that AMOC estimates are made available in widely recognized locations, such as the World Ocean Database, OceanSITES, the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI), etc. AMOC estimates should be accompanied by their key underlying measurements as well as their error estimates on multiple timescales from weeks to months to years. This allows the necessary information for analyses, inter-array comparisons, and numerical model studies.
  • Improve communication within the US AMOC observing system groups and between national and international programs.  

Long-term priorities

  • Develop new sustainable technologies and methods to achieve the overall observing system goal to characterize AMOC. This includes novel combinations of in situ and remotely sensed data with modeling efforts. These activities will need to be mindful of constraints due to limited financial resources.
  • Observe and study the shallow and deep AMOC pathways. Existing in situ trans-basin arrays will remain sparsely separated and measurements are required to reveal these pathways. This may involve targeted Lagrangian studies in the South Atlantic and/or tropical Atlantic regions, in situ arrays at key transition regions, and will surely require the development of new technologies and/or techniques.
  • Assist in rigorous testing of data assimilation schemes. Identify observations that improve AMOC representation and identify gaps in the current observing systems. This will require continued communication between the US AMOC community and the data assimilation community and will benefit from the proposed focus on developing common AMOC metrics.