26 Nov 2021

Seminar title: Past, present and future of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
Speaker: Dr Benoit Thibodeau, Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Date: 26th Nov 2021 (Friday)
Time: 15:00 – 16:30
Venue: Room 5560 (Lift 27-28)
Zoom: https://hkust.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEodOqqpzwjE9e-pTgcIRJ_45zL3fRrQHcx

The AMOC plays a crucial role in regulating global climate. This part of the thermohaline circulation is often considered very sensitive to freshwater input at high latitude. As Arctic warms about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, Greenland ice-sheet has been melting during the last century, contributing to about 30% of the observed sea-level rise. The potential effects of the freshwater inputs from the demise of the Greenland ice sheet on global circulation are still unresolved. We still do not fully understand how the intensity, timing and location of freshwater inputs could impact open-ocean convection. While we generally though freshwater input would reduce drastically or even completely shut down the convection in the Nordic Seas, recent studies contradicted this view. These studies concluded that a relatively thick, cold, and fresh, summer surface-mixed layer originating from ice sheet melting characterized the past interglacial period known as Marine isotope stage 11 (~400 000 years ago). This interglacial period with active ocean convection was thus, paradoxically, characterized by upper-ocean conditions, which are thought to prohibit convective mixing and deep-water formation. Thus, unravelling the effects of freshwater inputs is crucial to better understand modern oceanic changes and predict near-future climate. A change in the upper-ocean stratification in the polar North Atlantic could have major impacts on convective processes and North Atlantic circulation, which, in turn, could create major climate disturbances including rainfall and drought frequency, Arctic sea ice, and hurricane/typhoon activity.

Benoit Thibodeau is an Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studying marine biogeochemical dynamics. He received his PhD in environmental sciences from University of Quebec at Montreal where he studied the hypoxia in the St. Lawrence estuary. He previously worked at the Laboratoire d’océanologie de Villefranche-sur-mer, The University of Tokyo, the Academy of Science of Germany and the University of Hong Kong.

All Are Welcome!

Dr Benoit Thibodeau
Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong