The Delicacy of the Oceanic Thermohaline Circulation

  • James C. McWilliams
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 12)


The essential dynamical problem for the earth’s climate is the maintenance of discrepancies from local radiative equilibrium in the atmosphere. The latter would imply extraordinarily warm tropical regions, where the solar heating is greatest, and cold polar regions, where it is least. It is the fluid transports of thermal energy between the topics and poles that maintain the more moderate temperatures that do in fact occur. These transports are comparably shared between the atmosphere and ocean. Furthermore, they are shared between the sensible form of thermal energy and its latent forms in all three states of water: vapor, liquid, and ice.


Multiple Equilibrium Thermohaline Circulation Pitchfork Bifurcation Surface Boundary Condition Cusp Catastrophe 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. McWilliams
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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