8
$\begingroup$

Does it result in an increased exchange of surface heat and deepwater heat, which, in turn, help increase the amount of CO2 and heat that the deep oceans absorb?

Related-On-Wikipedia: Meridional overturning circulation (Thermohaline circulation)

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

The short answer is 'yes'. Earth's response to climate change is closely coupled to the deep ocean's uptake of heat and $\ce{CO2}$; the ocean is by far the biggest sink for excess heat (~90% of the excess heat absorbed by the planet goes into the ocean, the rest largely goes towards melting ice sheets/glaciers). The ocean is also a major sink for carbon.

How effective the ocean is at absorbing heat/$\ce{CO2}$ is closely tied to rates of deep water formation, that is the densification of near surface ocean water by surface fluxes like cooling and evaporation, which then sinks and doesn't come back to the surface for centuries or even millennia. The major deep water formation regions are the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. The sinking of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) is the northern part of the 'Atlantic Conveyor' (the term sometimes colloquially used to describe the AMOC).

A slowdown in the AMOC, therefore, wouldn't just impact regional climates in N. America and Western Europe, but would also reduce the deep ocean's uptake of heat and $\ce{CO2}$, and by consequence cause a greater increase in surface temperatures.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.