Meridional heat transport across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current by the Antarctic Bottom Water overturning cell

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The heat transported by the lower limb of the Southern Ocean meridional overturning circulation is commonly held to be negligible in comparison with that transported by eddies higher in the water column. We use output from one of the first global high resolution models to have a reasonably realistic export of Antarctic Bottom Water, the OCCAM one twelfth degree model. The heat fluxed southward by the deep overturning cell using the annual mean field for 1994 at 56S is 0.033 PW, but the 5-day mean fields give a larger heat flux (0.048 and 0.061 PW depending on calculation method). This is more than 30% of previous estimates of the total heat flux. Eddies and other transients add considerably to the heat flux. These results imply that this component of meridional heat flux may not be negligible as has been supposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L11610
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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