Signature of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in sea level along the east coast of North America

Rory J Bingham, Chris W Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this letter we examine the relationship between the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) and sea level (SL) along the east coast of North America. In the eddy permitting ocean model OCCAM we find a distinctive, topography-following pattern of SL variability in the western North Atlantic that is closely linked with the changing strength of the MOC, with a 2 cm drop in SL
along the US east coast corresponding to a 1Sv increase in the MOC. We find a similar pattern of SL variability in the altimetry record and show that this meridionally coherent SL mode dominates interannual SL variability at tide
gauges along the North American east coast between 40–50N. Hence we conclude that North American coastal sea-level may indeed be a useful indicator ofMOCvariability on interannual timescales, allowing an observationally-based
estimate of the likely range of interannual MOC fluctuations to be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL02603
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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