The next Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (TAOS) seminar will take place on Wednesday, October 22, at 12:00 noon in Endeavour Hall 120. Professor Yavor Kostov from the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present a seminar entitled, “Impact of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation on Ocean Heat Storage and Transient Climate Change.  An Analysis of CMIP5 Results.” All are welcome to attend. For additional information, please contact

We propose here that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) plays an important role in setting the effective heat capacity of the World Ocean and thus impacts the pace of transient climate change. The depth and strength of AMOC are shown to be strongly correlated with the depth of heat storage across a suite of state-of-the-art general circulation models (GCMs). In those models with a deeper and stronger AMOC, a smaller portion of the heat anomaly remains in the ocean mixed layer, and consequently, the surface temperature response is delayed. Representations of AMOC differ vastly across the GCMs, providing a major source of inter-model spread in the sea surface temperature (SST) response. A two-layer model fit to the GCMs is used to demonstrate that the inter-model spread in SSTs due to variations in the ocean’s effective heat capacity is significant, but smaller than the spread due to climate feedbacks.