UK Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Programme

The transport of heat and freshwater by the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre greatly affects the climate of the North Atlantic and Europe through its impact on air temperature, precipitation and wind strength. It is highly significant to the region's marine ecosystems, the formation of hurricanes, and rainfall in places like the Sahel, the Amazon and parts of USA. However the Subpolar Gyre is presently inadequately measured, and no ocean general circulation or climate model represents it accurately. UK-OSNAP will deliver enhanced understanding of processes critical to the improvement of physics in climate models through sustained observation of ocean circulation and fluxes together with modelling and analysis.

Led by NOC, UK-OSNAP is a partnership between NOC, SAMS, University of Oxford and University of Liverpool. It is part of international OSNAP that is led by USA and includes 10 further partner groups in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and China. The project will run for seven years from October 2013 and involves fieldwork at sea and model studies. UK-OSNAP is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and builds on National Capability underpinning observations.


Principal Investigators:

  • Prof. Penny Holliday, NOC (penny.holliday (at)
  • Prof. Sheldon Bacon, NOC (s.bacon (at)
  • Prof. Stuart Cunningham, SAMS (stuart.cunningham (at)
  • Prof. Mark Inall, SAMS (mark.inall (at)


Project Dates: 
September 2013 to August 2020
  • NERC – National Capability
  • NERC – Discovery Science