PhD defense, Sara Berglund, PhD candidate, MISU

Dissertation

Date:

Friday 17 December 2021

Time:

10.00 – 12.00

Location:

Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B

Tracing pathways in the ocean circulation: A temperature and salinity perspective

Bild på Årstaviken, Stockholm 2021. Photo: Sara Berglund
Årstaviken, Stockholm 2021. Photo: Sara Berglund

Name

Sara Berglund, PhD candidate
Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Title

Tracing pathways in the ocean circulation: A temperature and salinity perspective

Abstract

The ocean circulation plays an essential role in our climate system. It redistributes heat, salt, carbon and other tracers across the globe, making the climate of Earth more moderate. This thesis targets density differences that are driving the ocean circulation. These differences are caused by changes in temperature and salinity. The analysis is based on the usage of Lagrangian trajectories simulated with velocity fields from an Earth System Model. The Lagrangian approach opens up for the possibility to follow specific water paths and water masses. The results herein provide a new insight to specific circulation patterns in the ocean, and which regions that play an important role in controlling temperature and salinity changes.

In the first two articles, the Lagrangian divergence is introduced. It shows the geographical distribution of heat and salt changes of a simulated water mass. Using this, we are able to show that the northward flowing water in the Atlantic Ocean cools and freshens in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre, the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current. Similarly, we show that the water flowing from the Drake Passage, following the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) and moving northwards into the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, transforms from cold and fresh to warm and saline. This warming and salinification are a result of, not only air-sea fluxes, but also interior mixing.

In the third study, we show that 70% of the water flowing northwards as part of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation circuits the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre at least once before it continues northwards. In the gyre, the water spirals downwards as it gets denser, due to a combination of air-sea fluxes and interior mixing. These results bring a new perspective on the Subtropical Gyre's role to the circulation patterns of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

In the last part of this thesis, the circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean is traced into four different pathways. The pathways are visualised geographically together with their change in temperature, salinity and density. With this, we are able to show that the northward flowing water in the Atlantic Ocean exchanges heat and salt with the colder and fresher waters circulating the Subpolar Gyre.

Time

Friday December 17, 2021, at 10.00

Place

Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B

 

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