Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
Research article
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20 Feb 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 20 Feb 2023

On the ocean's response to enhanced Greenland runoff in model experiments: relevance of mesoscale dynamics and atmospheric coupling

Torge Martin and Arne Biastoch


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Increasing Greenland Ice Sheet--melting is anticipated to impact water mass transformation in the subpolar North Atlantic and ultimately the meridional overturning circulation. Greenland meltwater redistribution pathways in and impact on the subpolar North Atlantic and overturning circulation is currently among the most debated topics. The manuscript provides new insights to both physical oceanographic processes and climate modelling. Based on a systematic setup of model configurations the importance of atmospheric feedbacks and mesoscale dynamics for specific regions of the subpolar North Atlantic are emphasized. This reaches beyond aspects of model techniques and also addresses the need for continued and improved observations in critical locations of the subpolar North Atlantic gyre circulation.
Short summary
How is the ocean affected by continued Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss? We show in a systematic set of model experiments that atmospheric feedback needs to be accounted for as the large-scale ocean circulation is more than twice as sensitive to the meltwater otherwise. Coastal winds, boundary currents, and ocean eddies play a key role in redistributing the meltwater. Eddy paramterization helps the coarse simulation to perform better in the Labrador Sea but not in the North Atlantic Current region.