On the Path of the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Academic Article uri icon


  • The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) simulated in various ocean-only and coupled atmosphere–ocean numerical models often varies in time because of either forced or internal variability. The path of the Gulf Stream (GS) is one diagnostic variable that seems to be sensitive to the amplitude of the AMOC, yet previous modeling studies show a diametrically opposed relationship between the two variables. In this note this issue is revisited, bringing together ocean observations and comparisons with the GFDL Climate Model version 2.1 (CM2.1), both of which suggest a more southerly (northerly) GS path when the AMOC is relatively strong (weak). Also shown are some examples of possible diagnostics to compare various models and observations on the relationship between shifts in GS path and changes in AMOC strength in future studies.

publication date

  • June 2010