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Atlantic Ocean Heat Transport Enabled by Indo-Pacific Heat Uptake and Mixing

Holmes, Ryan M. and Zika, Jan D. and Ferrari, Raffaele and Thompson, Andrew F. and Newsom, Emily R. and England, Matthew H. (2019) Atlantic Ocean Heat Transport Enabled by Indo-Pacific Heat Uptake and Mixing. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (23). pp. 13939-13949. ISSN 0094-8276.

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The ocean transports vast amounts of heat around the planet, helping to regulate regional climate. One important component of this heat transport is the movement of warm water from equatorial regions toward the poles, with colder water flowing in return. Here, we introduce a framework relating meridional heat transport to the diabatic processes of surface forcing and turbulent mixing that move heat across temperature classes. Applied to a (1/4)° global ocean model the framework highlights the role of the tropical Indo‐Pacific in the global ocean heat transport. A large fraction of the northward heat transport in the Atlantic is ultimately sourced from heat uptake in the eastern tropical Pacific. Turbulent mixing moves heat from the warm, shallow Indo‐Pacific circulation to the cold deeper‐reaching Atlantic circulation. Our results underscore a renewed focus on the tropical oceans and their role in global circulation pathways.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Holmes, Ryan M.0000-0002-6799-9109
Zika, Jan D.0000-0003-3462-3559
Ferrari, Raffaele0000-0003-1895-4294
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Newsom, Emily R.0000-0002-3436-3833
England, Matthew H.0000-0001-9696-2930
Additional Information:© 2019 American Geophysical Union. Received 27 AUG 2019; Accepted 24 OCT 2019; Accepted article online 3 NOV 2019; Published online 11 DEC 2019. We thank A. Heerdegen, S. Griffies, and P. Spence for assistance with the modeling and diagnostics. This research was undertaken with the assistance of resources and services from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which is supported by the Australian Government. This project was also supported by the Earth Science and Climate Change Hub of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program (NESP) and the Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR), a joint research center between QNLM, CSIRO, UNSW, and UTAS. The data required to reproduce the results in this article are published online at Research Data Australia (Holmes et al., 2019,
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian GovernmentUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilDP150101331
Australian Research CouncilCE110001028
Australian Research CouncilDP160103130
Issue or Number:23
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200102-150028551
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Holmes, R. M., Zika, J. D., Ferrari, R., Thompson, A. F., Newsom, E. R., & England, M. H. (2019). Atlantic Ocean Heat Transport Enabled by Indo‐Pacific Heat Uptake and Mixing. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 13939–13949.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100470
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Jan 2020 02:44
Last Modified:02 Jul 2020 17:14

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