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NERSC Initiative for Scientific Exploration (NISE) 2010 Awards

Abrupt Climate Change and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Peter Winsor, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Associated NERSC Project: Abrupt Climate Change and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation - Sensitivity and Non-Linear Response to Arctic/Sub-Arctic Freshwater Pulses (m1068), Principal Investigator: Peter Winsor

NISE Award: 2,000,000 Hours
Award Date: February 2010

We will use NERSC computer resources to investigate Earth's climate sensitivity to abrupt releases of freshwater originating from ice melt (glaciers, damned glacial lakes and sea ice). This has direct societal implications as increased freshwater forcing may disrupt or party stop ocean circulation and change the atmospheric circulation.

This research project aims to address the sensitivity of Earth's climate to excess freshwater forcing from melting glaciers and sea ice and damned glacial lakes. We will use forward integrations of a high-resolution global ocean-ice model over long time-scales (>50 years) to examine changes in the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) that drives much of Earth climate.