The global climate system is rapidly changing under anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and a major mechanism of climate change associated with profound environmental, social and economic impacts is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The AMOC transports heat through the Atlantic, and climate and weather on the surrounding continents is sensitive to its mean state and variability. Furthermore the AMOC exerts significant control on the ocean’s sequestration of anthropogenic carbon. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections have a declining AMOC over the next century, but at present the only way to know the state of the AMOC, and to assess the validity of climate models, is by observing it with moored arrays of which there are very few. Since 2004 the UK and US have worked in partnership to implement the 26°N RAPID array. The array is simple in design but heavily dependent on research vessels. Recent developments in observing technology and process understanding provide an opportunity to test new approaches to observing the AMOC. We will design and test lower-cost, sustainable observing systems to provide AMOC estimates. Target stakeholders are researchers, forecasters, and decision-makers planning for the effects of climate change. The programme will be delivered in a partnership between UK (NOC, Met Office) and US (Uni. of Miami and AOML).

Project Dates: 
June 2023 to March 2026

NERC – Strategic Research