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North Atlantic/Arctic Climate Initiative

Our ability to predict climate changes is limited by our inadequate understanding of how ocean waters circulate and mix. Despite their importance to the climate system, the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans are poorly monitored. Thus, oceanographers have had limited ability to observe key, complex processes that drive ocean circulation and influence global climate.

Lack of knowledge about complex ocean processes limits the ability of coupled ocean-atmosphere models to simulate and predict climate dynamics. Models will become more accurate with enhanced efforts to measure and understand oceanic processes that drive the mixing and movement of water masses within the oceans. In the North Atlantic/ Arctic Climate Initiative the OCCI sponsors studies to explore processes that:
1. create and maintain the Arctic halocline
2. control how waters sink and mix in subpolar ocean basins to form the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC) and
3. affect the circulation of waters between the northern and tropical Atlantic, south via the DWBC and north via the surface Gulf Stream.

The OCCI, in coordination with other planned observing systems, is supporting WHOI expertise in building, deploying, and using ocean-sensing technology to develop a large-scale, long-term observing system to study North Atlantic circulation and its interactions with the Arctic Ocean and the atmosphere. Through the following projects we have and are continuing to measure and monitor critical processes that affect ocean circulation and dynamics and their impact on climate.

2008 Funded Projects

Line W: Sustained measurements of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

John Toole, Physical Oceanography
Ruth Curry, Physical Oceanography
Terry Joyce, Physical Oceanography
Mike McCartney, Physical Oceanography

2004 Funded Projects

January 1, 2004

Recovery and Redeployment of Iceland Sea Sediment Trap

Dorinda Ostermann, Geology & Geophysics
Steve Manganini, Geology & Geophysics

January 1, 2004

Development of a Freshwater Flux Array off Southeast Greenland

Robert R. Dickson, Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, UK

January 1, 2004

Irminger Sea Meteorological Buoy

Robert Pickart, Physical Oceanography
George Tupper, Physical Oceanography

January 1, 2004

Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Observing System

Andrey Proshutinsky, Physical Oceanography
Richard Krishfield, Physical Oceanography

January 1, 2004

Observing the Inflow of Pacific Water to the Arctic

Albert Plueddemann, Physical Oceanography
Chris von Alt, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department