On the variability of the meridional overturning circulation and its impact on ocean heat uptake
I spent the summer of 2016 investigating the variation of OHC with season, climate cycle, location and wind stress in a number of ocean basins, motivated by the fact that temporal and spatial variations in OHC are less well understood than those of the Earth’s surface temperature. I estimated heat content and its rate of change using data from the World Ocean Atlas (Isii et al 2006) and performed an initial investigation of correlations between heat content and potential driver environmental variables.
I completed an M.Phys. at Swansea University in 2017, with a dissertation on chaos in classical and quantum mechanical models for planetary systems. I was awarded the PM Davidson Prize for Best Theoretical Project at Level M.
I hope my project will investigate the relationship between seawater density in ocean basins, the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and ocean heat content (OHC). I’ll use idealized models and in particular investigate topics such as the role of wind in setting boundary densities. My initial work will focus on the eastern and western boundaries of the Atlantic Ocean, with the aim of reconstructing the Atlantic MOC (AMOC). This will lead on to an investigation of how MOCs and OHC behave under various forcing scenarios in the MetOffice’s coupled climate models, to better understand what controls variability in ocean stratification, heat content and circulation. One area of specific interest is the development of diagnostic relationships between heat fluxes, temperature fields and wind stress, in order to quantify how wind stress affects the distribution of heat uptake in the oceans. These diagnostics might then be applicable to climate change simulations, to better understand past ocean behaviour and improve future predictions.
Publications will be coming soon