Rate-Dependent Hysteresis of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation System and Its Asymmetric Loop

Soon Il An, Hyo Jeong Kim, Soong Ki Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Abrupt climate changes have occurred repeatedly in the past when the Earth climate system was forced across a threshold. A hysteresis with saddle nodes is the best means to explain the abruptness of a climate system. Here, we study the dynamic hysteresis of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) with a Stommel's box model and an Earth system model subject to a freshwater flux forcing (FWF). In Stommel's box model, the area of the hysteresis loop increases with increasing FWF frequency, and thus an abrupt transition from the off-state to the on-state of the AMOC (opposite) occurs at lower (higher) FWF than in static hysteresis, referring a “lagged tipping.” In the Earth system model, the expansion/contraction of the hysteresis loop area as a function of FWF frequency is also observed. However, abruptness in the hysteresis is highly distinct in the off-to-on state than the on-to-off state due to asymmetric salt-advection feedback.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL090132
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF‐2018R1A5A1024958). H.‐J. Kim is grateful for financial support from the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong‐Koo Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. The Authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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