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Changing Ocean Freshwater and Heat Transports and Atlantic Climate Tipping Points

Project Description

Project Rationale:
Abrupt climate changes can have large and devastating socio-economic impacts, therefore being able to simulate them in future climate scenarios is of great importance. Future climate change scenarios are often based on the average or mean of climate model projections where abrupt changes and tipping points often appear in one or a few single realizations of a small subset of models (Drijfhout et al. 2015). In addition climate models are often tuned to simulate a stable version of the present day climate and remain untested in abrupt climate shift scenarios (Valdes 2011). -

Here, we propose to extend the findings of Drijfhout et al. (2015) with the newest generation of climate model simulations along with analysis of the relevant feedbacks that may lead to abrupt change. For instance, changes in ocean heat and freshwater transports have a large impact on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). We propose to devote specific focus on the AMOC, but allow focus on other tipping elements that can be chosen from the catalogue of abrupt changes. Through this project the candidate will improve our understanding of factors that can limit the ability of coupled climate models in simulating abrupt climate shifts.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


Drijfhout et al. 2015: Catalogue of abrupt shifts in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate models. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, E5777-E5786, doi:10.1073/pnas.1511451112.
Valdes 2011:. Built for stability. Nature Geoscience, 4(7), p.414.
Mecking et al. 2017: The effect of model bias on Atlantic freshwater transport and implications for AMOC bi-stability. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 69(1), p.1299910.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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