Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
Ocean Sci., 3, 223–228, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-3-223-2007
Ocean Sci., 3, 223–228, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-3-223-2007

  14 May 2007

14 May 2007

Towards measuring the meridional overturning circulation from space

D. Cromwell1, A. G. P. Shaw1, P. Challenor1, R. E. Houseago-Stokes1, and R. Tokmakian2 D. Cromwell et al.
  • 1Ocean Observations and Climate, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), UK
  • 2Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA

Abstract. We present a step towards measuring the meridional overturning circulation (MOC), i.e. the full-depth water mass transport, in the North Atlantic using satellite data. Using the Parallel Ocean Climate Model, we simulate satellite observations of ocean bottom pressure and sea surface height (SSH) over the 20-year period from 1979–1998, and use a linear model to estimate the MOC. As much as 93.5% of the variability in the smoothed transport is thereby explained. This increases to 98% when SSH and bottom pressure are first smoothed. We present initial studies of predicting the time evolution of the MOC, with promising results. It should be stressed that this is an initial step only, and that to produce an actual working system for measuring the MOC from space would require considerable future work.