RAPID-WATCH Home A a directed programme for NERC



RAPID-WATCH aims to deliver a robust and scientifically credible assessment of the risk to the climate of UK and Europe arising from a rapid change in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC). The programme will also assess the need for a long-term observing system that could detect major MOC changes, narrow uncertainty in projections of future change, and possibly be the start of an 'early warning' prediction system.


  1. To deliver a decade-long time series of calibrated and quality-controlled measurements of the Atlantic MOC from the RAPID-WATCH arrays.

  2. To exploit the data from the RAPID-WATCH arrays and elsewhere to determine and interpret recent changes in the Atlantic MOC, assess the risk of rapid climate change, and investigate the potential for predictions of the MOC and its impacts on climate.

The RAPID-WATCH arrays are the existing 26°N MOC observing system array and the WAVE array that monitors the Deep Western Boundary Current. These measurements will continue to span the period 2004-2014. The second objective will be adressed through studies designed to answer four questions:

  1. How can we exploit data from the RAPID-WATCH arrays to obtain estimates of the MOC and related variables?

  2. What do the observations from the RAPID-WATCH arrays and other sources tell us about the nature and causes of recent changes in the Atlantic Ocean?

  3. What are the implications of RAPID-WATCH array data and other recent observations for estimates of the risk due to rapid change in the MOC?

  4. Could we use RAPID-WATCH and other observations to help predict future changes in the MOC and climate?

Programme Delivery

To ensure that the programme works effectively towards achieving these objectives, NERC has set up a Programme Executive Board (PEB), which consists of the Science Coordinator, Meric Srokosz, NERC's Marine Planning Coordinator, Mike Webb, and the Chair of the Programme Advisory Group (PAG), David Anderson. The PEB has overall responsibility for the delivery of the science, and works closely with the Prinicpal Investigators (PIs) of the 7 RAPID-WATCH projects to ensure that objectives are met, and that synergies between projects are explored and fully exploited.

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