Slowdown of Antarctic Bottom Water export driven by climatic wind and sea ice changes

Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is pivotal for oceanic heat and carbon sequestrations on multidecadal-to-millennial timescales. The Weddell Sea contributes nearly a half of global AABW through Weddell Sea Deep Water (WSDW) and denser underlying Weddell Sea Bottom Water (WSBW) that are form on the continental shelves via sea ice production. Here we report an observed 30% reduction of WSBW volume since 1992, with the largest decrease in the densest classes. This is likely driven by a multidecadal reduction in dense water production over southern continental shelf associated with a >40% decline in the sea ice formation rate. The ice production decrease is driven by northerly wind trend, related to a phase transition of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation since the early 1990s, superposed by Amundsen Sea Low intrinsic variability. These results reveal key influences on exported AABW to the Atlantic abyss and their sensitivity to large-scale, multidecadal climate variability.


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Authors: Zhou, Shenjie ORCIDORCID record for Shenjie Zhou, Meijers, Andrew J.S. ORCIDORCID record for Andrew J.S. Meijers, Meredith, Michael P. ORCIDORCID record for Michael P. Meredith, Abrahamsen, E. Povl ORCIDORCID record for E. Povl Abrahamsen, Holland, Paul R. ORCIDORCID record for Paul R. Holland, Silvano, Alessandro, Sallée, Jean-Baptiste, Østerhus, Svein

On this site: Andrew Meijers, Povl Abrahamsen, Michael Meredith, Paul Holland, Shenjie Zhou
12 June, 2023
Nature Climate Change / 13
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