Causes of tropical Atlantic paleo-salinity variation during periods of reduced AMOC Academic Article uri icon


  • During periods of reduced Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) associated with a freshening of northern North Atlantic surface water, paleo proxy records indicate a corresponding surface salinity increase over the entire tropical Atlantic. Although latitudinal-shifts in the mean position of the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) can explain certain features of the paleo salinity reconstructions, this mechanism does not offer an explanation for the reconstructed basin-wide paleo-salinity response to AMOC change. Here, we present new results from general circulation model simulations that suggest the sea surface salinity (SSS) increase in the tropical north Atlantic during periods of weakened AMOC is mainly controlled by the atmospheric response to the North Atlantic cooling, while the oceanic teleconnection contributes to increased SSS over the equatorial and south tropical Atlantic Ocean.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wan, X., Chang, P., & Schmidt, M. W.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Wan, Xiuquan||Chang, Ping||Schmidt, Matthew W

publication date

  • February 2010