Measuring the Atlantic circulation

Brochure explains the importance of long-term measurements in the Atlantic in the run-up to the IPCC report | AG I on scientific basics

Record floods in Central Europe - record temperatures in North America - an early-starting storm season in the Atlantic region: this summer has already produced significant weather extremes. It is almost certain that the increasing extreme weather events are a consequence of climate change. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, ocean currents in the Atlantic are expected to weaken, and this will also affect regional warming and sea level rise, precipitation and also agriculture and fisheries, especially in western and northern Europe.

However, even the latest climate simulations show a wide variation in the decline of the Atlantic circulation and its climate impacts. In the run-up to the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new report on the scientific basis of climate change on 9 August 2021, KDM and the German Climate Consortium 36 pages of this brochure provide a comprehensible overview of the measurement of the Atlantic circulation. It shows how important these long-term measurements are for understanding the climate role of the ocean. The measurement results also set the standard for checking and improving the climate models and thus also the forecasts for the 21st century. 

Professor Monika Rhein from the University of Bremen explains: "To find out how realistic the decrease in ocean currents is in the climate models, we need long-term data on these currents over several decades. These necessary measurements must be carried out and secured."

The leading German marine research institutes operate measuring stations in the deep ocean that measure currents from the Arctic to the South Atlantic. The publication clearly describes the methods and explains how the observations are linked to the models. The observations of the Atlantic circulation feed into the IPCC reports to provide facts for a global and knowledge-based policy to protect the oceans and atmosphere.


You can download the publication here: Measuring the Atlantic circulation

The report of the IPCC Working Group I - Scientific Foundationswhich is to be published on 09.08.21 at 10 a.m., is part of the upcoming 6th IPCC Assessment Report and summarises the state of scientific knowledge on the scientific basis of climate change. Further information can be found on the website of the German IPCC Coordination Unit: https://www.de-ipcc.de/350.php and the German Climate Consortium: https://www.deutsches-klima-konsortium.de/de/klimafruehstueck-ar6wg1.html