Scientific Colloquium
April 13, 2016, 3:30 p.m., Building 3 Auditorium

"Upwelling in the Southern Ocean"  

The upwelling in the Southern Ocean provides a pathway for the deep and abyssal water masses of the global ocean to return to the surface, creating a mechanism for the exchange of carbon and heat between the deep ocean and the atmosphere. As a result of this unique physical circulation, our best estimates indicate that the Southern Ocean accounts for 50% of the oceanic sink of anthropogenic carbon and 75% of ocean heat uptake. However, little is known about the spatial distribution of the overturning circulation, as well as its role in the ocean's response to climate change, due to a lack of observations and the difficulty of modeling the small-scale energetic eddy field. In this talk, I will present results from a high-resolution global climate model focusing on two aspects of Southern Ocean dynamics. The first study investigates why heat uptake by the Southern Ocean dominates the energy budget of the climate system under global warming, and in particular the role of eddies in transferring heat into the ocean interior. The second study utilizes virtual particles, advected by the model velocity fields, to reveal the three-dimensional structure of the overturning circulation. The particle trajectories show deep waters entering the Southern Ocean from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in deep boundary currents and upwelling within the Southern Ocean at eddy hotspots associated with topographic features.

About the Speaker:

Adele Morrison is a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University. She received her PhD from the Australian National University in 2014. Her research is focused on the large-scale dynamics of the Southern Ocean and in particular the role of eddies in modifying the ocean's response to changes in climate.

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