Skip to main content

2017 US AMOC Science Team Meeting

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Approaching a decade of coordinated activities, the US AMOC Program has worked to further our knowledge of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) by establishing a monitoring system, enhancing our understanding of AMOC variability mechanisms, and improving both prediction capabilities and understanding the impacts of AMOC on the climate and ecosystems. In an effort to bring together the community, the US AMOC Science Team, comprised of funded investigators, will host a meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico to hear about progress made and address emerging science questions.

The 2017 AMOC Science Team Meeting was based on the structure of the four Task Teams as well as two special science sessions that are meant to address open questions within the community. One of the sessions was on AMOC stability metrics. This session featured presentations and discussion on metrics that have been proposed as indicators of the stability of the AMOC. The second special science session was on Atlantic Multidecadal Variability. This session was intended to provide a venue to discuss the relative contributions of ocean dynamics and stochastic atmospheric forcing to the creation/driving of the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability.

The goals of the meeting were to identify emerging research gaps and questions, provide updates on progress within the community, and discuss future opportunities and legacy activities as the Science Team plans to wrap-up in 2020.

As reflected by the Task Team structure, the meeting was framed along the following sessions and questions:

AMOC observing system implementation and evaluation

What is the observed AMOC variability and what are the underlying mechanisms driving variability?
What is the meridional coherence of the observed AMOC?
What technological advances and novel combinations of existing technologies can be used to make AMOC observations sustainable into the future?

AMOC state, variability, and change

Which AMOC signals have been consistently identified in both observations and simulations, and which have not?
What AMOC fingerprints show up coherently across multiple observing systems?
What ideas drive us to consensus in data-assimilating models on current and past states of AMOC?

AMOC variability mechanisms and predictability

How do exchanges of buoyancy and momentum between the ocean and the atmosphere/cryosphere, and between the Atlantic and adjoining basins, drive AMOC variability across a broad range of timescales, from monthly to millennial (i.e., quasi steady-state)? 

What are the magnitude, location, and physical mechanisms associated with interior diapycnal mixing in the ocean that are relevant to the diabatic AMOC? How are these processes represented in ocean GCMs?

How can we use eddy-resolving models more effectively to i) test the robustness of AMOC variability mechanisms identified in coarser GCMs or idealized models; ii) address the origins of persistent model bias in the North Atlantic region (e.g., Gulf Stream separation and the North Atlantic Current path); and iii) assess the role of ocean turbulence in AMOC variability.

What are the predictability properties of AMOC in idealized and comprehensive models, and which mechanisms affect these properties?

Role of AMOC in global climate and ecosystems

What is the role of low-frequency AMOC variability in the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability/Oscillation (AMV/AMO) and its associated climate impacts?
What are the interactions between AMOC/Atlantic heat transport and the cryosphere, such as Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet?
What are the AMOC impacts on biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystems?


The meeting was open to US and international scientists, including members of the US AMOC Science Team, their collaborators, and any scientists interested in engaging and learning about the science of AMOC and the US program. The meeting was structured around plenary talks selected from abstracts, poster sessions, two special science sessions, and breakout discussions. 


Organizing Committee:

Wilbert Weijer, Los Alamos National Laboratory (chair)

Gokhan Danabsoglu, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Femke de Jong, Duke University

Matthias Lankhorst, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Mike Patterson, US CLIVAR

Jill Reisdorf, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Kristan Uhlenbrock, US CLIVAR

Rong Zhang, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory


May 23
Sessions: 8:30-17:45
Dinner: 18:30-20:30

May 24
Sessions: 8:30-16:00

May 25
Sessions: 8:30-17:00
EC Meeting: 17:00-18:00