Winds, waves and currents within Earth’s fluid envelope play a central role in climate. Such motions transport heat around the globe exerting a fundamental control on the global temperature distribution. The atmospheric circulation also plays a key role in shaping the global distributions of humidity and precipitation and of minor constituents such as CO2, aerosols, and ozone. These constituents can absorb and reflect solar and thermal radiation, profoundly influencing local and global temperatures. The ocean circulation, on the other hand, transports salt and biogeochemical properties such as dissolved inorganic carbon and nutrients, which play a crucial role for the Earth's marine ecosystems and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The Bolin Centre’s Research Area 1 conducts fundamental research into the nature and impact of large-scale wind patterns in the atmosphere and currents in the ocean. Research methods range from complex global climate models to simple conceptual models and theory and observational analyses. Some work tackles global questions such as how, where and when surface water in the oceans sinks to the deep oceans, while other work takes a more regional focus on areas of special interest such as the Baltic Sea. The research activities span time periods ranging from studies of the Eocene warm climate about 50 million years ago, to the glacial cycles of the last million years, and to the prediction of future climate change and impacts as a result of warmth-producing gasses from human activities.

 

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