EGU General Assembly 2007
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  Information - OS8 Variability in the Southern Ocean (co-listed AS,CL,BG,CR)

Event Information
Variability of the physical environment of the Southern Ocean influences regional and global climate, the distribution and productivity of marine organisms, the ocean uptake and storage of carbon dioxide, and the rate and pattern of sea-level rise. Recent studies have begun to document the variability of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on regional climate and marine ecosystems. Key Southern Ocean water masses have been shown to be changing in response to climate change. Climate change models predict that the Southern Ocean overturning circulation will slow down as a result of global warming, causing a decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean and a positive feedback on climate change.
But our understanding of how the circulation and water masses of the Southern Ocean vary in time and the impact of Southern Ocean variability physical properties on regional ecosystems and climate global remains incomplete, largely due to the lack of appropriate observations.The Southern Ocean is remote, and the environment is hostile. As a consequence, historical data are scarce and hypotheses regarding the climate impact of Southern Ocean processes have been difficult to formulate and test.
However, new tools (including autonomous floats, oceanographic sensors mounted on animals, highly accurate satellites and improved numerical models) and measurements collected over the last decade make it now possible to investigate the variability of the Southern Ocean, to describe and to understand the Southern Ocean processes responsible for climate variability.

We welcome contributions using data or models about :
variability of Southern Ocean structure on time-scales from months to decades.
variability in transport and frontal structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
variability of the coupled ocean - atmosphere - sea ice system in the Southern Ocean
variability in water mass formation and properties including the process of mode water formation
variability of the strength of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation.
variability in upper ocean currents and stratification and their impact on marine ecosystems
physical controls on biological productivity and export of biological matter to the deep ocean
variations in animal distributions and behaviour related to environmental variability,
. variability in biogeochemical and ecological systems related to the variability of the physical environment
Use of ocean observations to test and guide refinement of climate models in the Southern Ocean.
Use of hindcasts from a data-assimilating ocean model to infer the statistics of variability and to diagnose the physical processes responsible for Southern Ocean variability.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers

AS, CL, BG and CR

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