Is there a simple bi-polar ocean seesaw?

Dan Seidov, Ronald J. Stouffer, Bernd J. Haupt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Using an atmosphere-ocean coupled model, the climate response to an idealized freshwater input into the Southern Ocean is studied. In response to the freshwater input, the surface waters around Antarctica freshen and cool. As the addition of freshwater continues, the fresh, surface anomalies spread throughout the world ocean in contrast to ocean-only experiments and North Atlantic experiments using coupled models. Because of the fundamental difference in altering sea surface salinity (SSS) from the two sources (northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere), a bi-polar seesaw fails to develop in the ocean, at least in our coupled atmosphere-ocean experiments. Control ocean-only experiments with mixed boundary conditions and similar short-term southern freshwater impacts match the results of the coupled experiments. Based on these experiments, we argue that the concept of ocean bi-polar seesaw should be taken with some caveats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography


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