2023 journal article

Historical Changes in Wind-Driven Ocean Circulation Can Accelerate Global Warming


co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: climate change; ocean circulation; global warming; climate modeling
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 27, 2023

Abstract Mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change depend on accurate climate projections for the coming decades. While changes in radiative heat fluxes are known to contribute to surface warming, changes to ocean circulation can also impact the rate of surface warming. Previous studies suggest that projected changes to ocean circulation reduce the rate of global warming. However, these studies consider large greenhouse gas forcing scenarios, which induce a significant buoyancy‐driven decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Here, we use a climate model to quantify the previously unknown impact of changes to wind‐driven ocean circulation on global surface warming. Wind‐driven ocean circulation changes amplify the externally forced warming rate by 17% from 1979 to 2014. Accurately simulating changes to the atmospheric circulation is key to improving near‐term climate projections.