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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Anna Atencio
October 9, 2017 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
Seminar Title: How volcanic eruptions affect ocean circulation on decadal timescales
Abstract: Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is part of the great ocean conveyor belt that brings a warm temperate climate to Europe and the rest of the northern Atlantic. Since the creation of the Rapid Climate Change Program in 2004, aimed to study AMOC strength and vertical structure, evidence suggests AMOC has weakened over the past century and will continue to weaken into the next century. Anthropogenic-induced warming is speculated to be a large cause of this weakening in ocean circulation. However, aerosols released from volcanic eruptions are known to induce cooling of global temperatures, termed ‘volcanic winters’ that can last up to 3 years. Recently these eruptions have also been found to have an effect on ocean circulation for longer timescales due to the decrease in sea surface temperature. This presentation focuses on two recent large-scale volcanic eruptions and the models that attempt to understand their affects on AMOC. While the models used vary in their outcomes, they are in agreement that large volcanic eruptions can mask the effects of anthropogenic climate change on AMOC for decades.