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Task Team 4: Climate Sensitivity to AMOC: Climate/Ecosystem Impacts

The task team is charged with better understanding the links between the AMOC and North Atlantic SST and teleconnections with climate variability elsewhere.  

View TT4 Near- and Long-Term Priorities


US AMOC Task Team 4 Members
Member name Institution
Chris Little, Chair AER Inc.
Nick Bates Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Martha Buckley George Mason University
Claudia Cenedese Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Ping Chang Texas A&M University
Ke Chen Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Amy Clement University of Miami
Marlos Goes NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Metiorological Laboratory
Taka Ito  Georgia Institute of Technology
Terry Joyce Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Kathryn Kelly University of Washington
Sergey Kravtsov University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Yochanan Kushnir Columbia University
Zhengyu Liu University of Wisconsin
Dimitris Menemenlis NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Anastasia Romanou Columbia University/NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Andreas Schmittner Oregon State University
Fiamma Straneo Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Mingfang Ting Columbia University
Anastasios Tsonis University of Wisconsin
Denis Volkov University of Miami/NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Metreorological Laboratory
Jiayan Yang Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Jianjun Yin University of Arizona
Rong Zhang NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab
Jian Zhao University of Maryland Center for Environment Science


Near-term priorities

Relationship between AMOC, the ITCZ, and the hydrological cycle

Modeling experiments seem to clearly suggest an impact between imposed changes in the AMOC and shifts in the ITCZ. However, ITCZ shifts in coupled models appear to be damped in contrast to slab models. The impact of internal variability of the AMOC on the ITCZ is more uncertain, but there are interesting recent results, including high predictability of shifts in the ITCZ position (Martin and Thorncroft 2015), which seem to be related to changes in the AMOC in the subpolar North Atlantic. However, several key questions remain unaddressed, including:

  • What is the impact of model biases on the ability to capture AMOC variability and teleconnections?
  • What are the interactions between the AMOC, AMV, and changes in different types of clouds?

Relationship between the AMOC and global and regional sea level

  • Does the AMOC and resulting ocean heat transport have a significant impact on regional sea level? How does it compare to other factors (e.g., local winds, changes in the Gulf Stream path)?
  • Can sea level be used as a proxy for the AMOC?

Relationship between the AMOC and the cryosphere

  • What are the mechanisms for warming along the ice shelf in Greenland? Related to the AMOC? Local winds?
  • What is the impact of the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the AMOC (e.g., Oceans Melting Greenland project)?

Relationship between the AMOC and climate extremes

  • What is the impact of the AMOC on hurricanes?
  • What is the impact of the AMOC on droughts?
  • How can the CMIP6 decadal MIPs be used to understand AMOC variability and related climate impacts?

Relationship between the AMOC, the carbon cycle, and marine ecosystems

  • How does the AMOC impact the carbon cycle?
  • What is the impact of the AMOC/AMV on fisheries?

Long-term priority

  • Understand how AMOC variability interacts with other components of the Earth system – its climate, hydrologic cycle, atmospheric circulation, coupled phenomena (e.g., ENSO, monsoons), other ocean basins (e.g., Southern Ocean), cryosphere, sea level, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles, and carbon budgets.