Ocean Dynamics pp 487-560 | Cite as

The Meridional Overturning of the Oceans

  • Dirk Olbers
  • Jürgen Willebrand
  • Carsten Eden


This chapter presents a brief overview of available observations and a more detailed discussion of the theory of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC). It should be pointed out that the theory of the MOC is not yet as solid as the theory of the wind-driven circulation. There is a variety of model types – box models of various configurations and zonally averaged models – many have imbedded severe approximations and unjustifiable assumptions which should be taken with care. We made an attempt to discuss these shortcomings and to present better alternatives if possible.


Southern Ocean Western Boundary Current North Atlantic Deep Water Meridional Velocity Multiple Steady State 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und MeeresforschungBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften IFM-GEOMARKielGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity HamburgHamburgGermany

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