Explaining and predicting the ocean conveyor (EPOC)

Generating a new concept of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), its function in the Earth system and how it impacts weather and climate.

EPOC will generate a new conceptual framework for the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, to understand how it functions in the Earth system, and how it impacts weather and climate. The AMOC is a key component of the climate system, responsible for ocean heat and freshwater transport, associated with the ventilation of anthropogenic carbon, and anticipated to experience or drive climate tipping points. However, the link between ocean transport, ventilation and tipping points relies on the common conceptual view of the AMOC as a ‘great ocean conveyor’ which was developed to explain very long timescale (glacial-interglacial) fluctuations in climate. The conveyor belt schematic conflates millennial timescales with human timescales (days to 100 years), leading to misconceptions by the observing and modelling communities, and misplaced expectations about the AMOC’s role in climate.