Changes in extreme regional sea surface height due to an abrupt weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation
As an extreme scenario of dynamical sea level changes, regional sea surface height (SSH) changes that occur in the North Atlantic due to an abrupt weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) are simulated. Two versions of the same ocean-only model are used to study the effect of ocean model resolution on these SSH changes: a high-resolution (HR) strongly eddying version and a low-resolution (LR) version in which the effect of eddies is parameterised. The weakening of the AMOC is induced in both model versions by applying strong freshwater perturbations around Greenland. A rapid decrease of the AMOC in the HR version induces much shorter return times of several specific regional and coastal extremes in North Atlantic SSH than in the LR version. This effect is caused by a change in main eddy pathways associated with a change in separation latitude of the Gulf Stream.