Climate change impacts on ocean circulation relevant to the UK and Ireland


Ocean circulation, including ocean currents and systems of ocean currents, such as ocean gyres and the meridional overturning circulation, play a key role in the climate system through the redistribution of heat, freshwater, carbon, and ecosystem-relevant quantities. Some of these systems of ocean currents are on a large spatial scale and of global climate relevance. For example, the basin-scale Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) plays an important role in the climate of north-west Europe (Bellomo et al., 2021; McCarthy et al., 2015). Other ocean circulation features are on a smaller spatial scale and still have an important climate relevance. For example, the regional-scale exchanges across the north-west European shelf are large and enable a disproportionately large carbon transport that plays an important role in the ocean’s sequestration of anthropogenic carbon (Legge et al., 2020). How these systems will change as the climate changes is a key focus of research.

Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
Professor of Ocean Dynamics in a Changing Climate

I am a physical oceanographer who uses ocean observations to investigate ocean dynamics and circulation in a changing climate. I have a particular interest in problems spanning scales (from micro- to large-scale) or spheres (biogeosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere), and in methods that leverage traditional observations with new platforms and satellite data.