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Zhang, M., Wu, Z., & Qiao, F. (2018). Deep Atlantic Ocean Warming Facilitated by the Deep Western Boundary Current and Equatorial Kelvin Waves. J. Climate, 31(20), 8541–8555.
Abstract: Increased heat storage in deep oceans has been proposed to account for the slowdown of global surface warming since the end of the twentieth century. How the imbalanced heat at the surface has been redistributed to deep oceans remains to be elucidated. Here, the evolution of deep Atlantic Ocean heat storage since 1950 on multidecadal or longer time scales is revealed. The anomalous heat in the deep Labrador Sea was transported southward by the shallower core of the deep western boundary current (DWBC). Upon reaching the equator around 1980, this heat transport route bifurcated into two, with one continuing southward along the DWBC and the other extending eastward along a narrow strip (about 4 degrees width) centered at the equator. In the 1990s and 2000s, meridional diffusion helped to spread warming in the tropics, making the eastward equatorial warming extension have a narrow head and wider tail. The deep Atlantic Ocean warming since 1950 had overlapping variability of approximately 60 years. The results suggest that the current basinwide Atlantic Ocean warming at depths of 1000-2000 m can be traced back to the subsurface warming in the Labrador Sea in the 1950s. An inference from these results is that the increased heat storage in the twenty-first century in the deep Atlantic Ocean is unlikely to partly account for the atmospheric radiative imbalance during the last two decades and to serve as an explanation for the current warming hiatus.