08.02.2021: Online Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics Colloquium

Prof. Paola Moffa-Sanchez, Department of Geography, Ice Sheets and Sea Level, University of Durham, Durham (UK): "Understanding centennial variability in North Atlantic circulation for the last 2000 years: What can we learn from paleoceanographic records?

 

online 11 am
Webex meeting room. Link will follow.

Over the recent millennia the climate around the North Atlantic was punctuated by centennial oscillations which, despite their small magnitude, had important societal effects in northwest Europe. The most favoured explanations for this climate variability invoke changes in external forcing which were likely amplified by ocean-ice-atmosphere feedbacks. Traditionally, ocean changes, specifically the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, were invoked to explain some of this centennial climate variability. Initial paleoceanographic data in the 2000’s were able to show the involvement of the ocean in these climate oscillations particularly during the Little Ice Age. Yet, these records from a few marine locations were not able to resolve the last couple of millennia with enough resolution to study the oceanic processes involved in centennial-scale changes, leaving a myriad of unknowns. Twenty years later, the dramatic increase in the number and quality of high resolution marine proxy records together with computational advances have offered are more refined and perhaps complex picture. In this seminar, I will present past hydrographic reconstructions from the subpolar gyre and Labrador Sea region in order to explore the oceanic processes that led to the climatic shifts recorded in European historical and climate records.

 

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