OS 2020/2021 Fridtjof Nansen Medal Lectures & 2021 Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture


OS 2020/2021 Fridtjof Nansen Medal Lectures & 2021 Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture
Conveners: Karen J. Heywood, Johan van der Molen | Co-convener: Meriel J. Bittner
| Thu, 22 Apr, 15:00–16:50 (CEST)

Session assets

Presentations: Thu, 22 Apr

Chairpersons: Karen J. Heywood, Johan van der Molen, Meriel J. Bittner
Fridtjof Nansen Medal Lecture 2020
Richard Greatbatch

We start with the severe European winter of 1962/63, a winter when the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index was strongly negative with persistent easterly wind anomalies across northern Europe and the British Isles. We then note that the NAO is a manifestation of synoptic Rossby wave breaking. The positive feedback with which synoptic eddies act to maintain the atmospheric jet stream against friction turns out to also be the mechanism by which the equatorial deep jets in the ocean are maintained against dissipation. We were fortunate to be able to demonstrate this in both a simple model set-up that supports deep jets and directly from mooring data at 23 W on the equator in the Atlantic Ocean. The deep jets offer some potential for prediction over the neighbouring African continent on interannual time scales. This then leads to a discussion of the importance of the tropics for prediction on both seasonal and decadal time scales and longer, linking back to the winter of 1962/63.  A simple statistical model is used to illustrate many features of predictability, including non-stationarity and the so-called signal to noise paradox.

How to cite: Greatbatch, R.: From the North Atlantic Oscillation to the Tropics and back..., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-440,, 2021.

OS Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture 2021
Marilena Oltmanns, N. Penny Holliday, James Screen, D. Gwyn Evans, Simon A. Josey, Ben Moat, Johannes Karstensen, and G. W. Kent Moore

Recent decades have been characterised by amplified Arctic warming and increased occurrence of extreme weather events in the North Atlantic region. While earlier studies noticed statistical links between high-latitude warming and mid-latitude weather extremes, the underlying dynamical connections remained elusive. Combining different data products, I will demonstrate a new mechanism linking Arctic ice losses with cold anomalies and storms in the subpolar region in winter, and with heat waves and droughts over Europe summer. Considering feedbacks of the identified mechanism on the Arctic Ocean circulation, I will further present new support for the potential of Arctic warming to trigger a rapid change in climate.

How to cite: Oltmanns, M., Holliday, N. P., Screen, J., Evans, D. G., Josey, S. A., Moat, B., Karstensen, J., and Moore, G. W. K.: How does the Arctic affect North Atlantic climate? Fresh perspectives on a long-standing question., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5271,, 2021.

Fridtjof Nansen Medal Lecture 2021
Richard Lampitt

The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) started in 1987 and stimulated massive integration of efforts to measure and understand the processes of downward flux in the ocean. A small number of sustained observatories have persisted from this time in the belief that a key to gaining this understanding is by prolonged time-series observations. The sustained observatory over the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP-SO) in the Northeast Atlantic is one such site which has provided nearly continuous measurements of downward flux at a depth of 3000m since 1989. This was using sediment traps but, in order to understand the data, we have exploited a wide range of other approaches such as optical methods, drifting sediment traps in the upper 1000m, chemical variables near the surface and computational modelling. Insights are also gained from the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR), satellite observations and various climatic indices.

This presentation draws together these measurements to quantify and understand flux at 3000m. Seasonal and interannual variability is large but after 30 years of observation, explanations are now possible. In addition, some of the conclusions identify major and surprising features about the ways ecosystems in one year may be influenced by their structure and function in previous years.

At the same time as these time-series observations have been in progress, major new developments have taken place globally and at PAP-SO to provide additional and alternative means to asses flux. The sediment trap has significant advantages as well as uncertainties which have been described previously. The new era of approaches using, for instance, BGC Argo, the Carbon Flux Explorer and a variety of other optical techniques offer what may be a quantum leap in our understanding of downward particle flux now and how it is changing in response to changes in the global climate. This presentation will give a personal and optimistic view of the opportunities which are now developing to quantify and understand this crucially important process.

How to cite: Lampitt, R.: Downward particle flux in the open ocean: Future global opportunities and insights from time-series measurements at the PAP Sustained Observatory in the Northeast Atlantic., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15591,, 2021.