Maria-Jesus Rapanague

Department Climate Variability IMPRS
Group IMPRS doctoral candidate Director's Research Group (CVR)
Position Phd Candidate
phone +49 40 41173-205
Room B 227

About my research

I am a PhD student since May 2022 in the IMPRS-ESM programme at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, supervised by Jochem Marotzke, Dian Putrasahan and Eleanor Frajka-Williams.

I study the mechanisms that drive the variability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Currently, I am investigating how the meridional connectivity of the AMOC changes with ocean resolution (1°, 0.4° and 0.1°) in the MPI-ESM model, focusing on decadal timescales.

The AMOC is a system of ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean that transports large amounts of heat northwards and carbon from the surface to the deep ocean, strongly influencing the climate system. It is expected to decline as a result of climate change, but the magnitude and duration of this decline are still highly uncertain. The lack of long-term observations, the challenge of representing key processes in standard climate models and the natural complexity of the AMOC due to its large spatial scale (the entire Atlantic) and temporal variability (days to millennia) make our understanding of the AMOC far from complete.

In particular, whether the variability of the AMOC is linked across latitudes (meridional connectivity) remains a major open question, challenging the notion of the ocean as a conveyor belt. A connected AMOC can improve climate predictability and simplify observational arrays, whereas an unconnected AMOC leads to convergence or divergence of heat and freshwater content, affecting climate patterns.