Transient Growth and Optimal Excitation of Thermohaline Variability

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Transient Growth and Optimal Excitation of Thermohaline Variability

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Title: Transient Growth and Optimal Excitation of Thermohaline Variability
Author: Tziperman, Eli; Ioannou, Petros J.

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Citation: Tziperman, Eli, and Petros J. Ioannou. 2002. Transient growth and optimal excitation of thermohaline variability. Journal of Physical Oceanography 32(12): 3427-3435.
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Abstract: The physical mechanisms of transient amplification of initial perturbations to the thermohaline circulation (THC), and of the optimal stochastic forcing of THC variability, are discussed using a simple meridional box model. Two distinct mechanisms of transient amplification are found. One such mechanism, with a transient amplification timescale of a couple of years, involves an interaction between the THC induced by rapidly decaying sea surface temperature anomalies and the THC induced by the slower-decaying salinity mode. The second mechanism of transient amplification involves an interaction between different slowly decaying salinity modes and has a typical growth timescale of decades. The optimal stochastic atmospheric forcing of heat and freshwater fluxes are calculated as well. It is shown that the optimal forcing induces low-frequency THC variability by exciting the salinity-dominated variability modes of the THC.
Published Version:<3427:TGAOEO>2.0.CO;2
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