Climate change in the Iberian Upwelling System: a numerical study using GCM downscaling

Ana Cordeiro Pires, Rita Nolasco, Alfredo Rocha, Alexandre M. Ramos, Jesus Dubert
Climate Dynamics (2016), 47:451464. doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2848-y

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The present work aims at evaluating the impacts of a climate change scenario on the hydrography and dynamics of the Iberian Upwelling System. Using regional ocean model configurations, the study domain is forced with three different sets of surface fields: a climatological dataset to provide the control run; a dataset obtained from averaging several global climate models (GCM) that integrate the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) models used in climate scenarios, for the same period as the climatological dataset; and this same dataset but for a future period, retrieved from the IPCC A2 climate scenario. After ascertaining that the ocean run forced with the GCM dataset for the present compared reasonably well with the climatologically forced run, the results for the future run (relative to the respective present run) show a general temperature increase (from +0.5 to +3 C) and salinity decrease (from ?0.1 to ?0.3), particularly in the upper 100200 m, although these differences depend strongly on season and distance to the coast. There is also strengthening of the SST cross-shore gradient associated to upwelling, which causes narrowing and shallowing of the upwelling jet. This effect is contrary to the meridional wind stress intensification that is also observed, which would tend to strengthen the upwelling jet