THOR in short
THOR stands for "Thermohaline Overturning – at Risk?". THOR addresses the call ”Stability of the ThermoHaline Circulation/THC” within the activity “Climate Change, Policy and Risks” of the EU FP7 Programme (2007-2013). The project was launched in December 2008 and foresees the cooperation of 20 higher educational and research institutions of 9 European countries over four project years. The overall activities are coordinated by the Institute of Oceanography at University of Hamburg.
Dring the project life cycle, the project will establish an operational system that will monitor and forecast the development of the North Atlantic THC on decadal time scales, and assess its stability, and the risk of a breakdown in a changing climate. Through the assimilation of systematic oceanic observations at key locations into ocean circulation models, the project will provide a set of geo-observational products that will be used to forecast the development of the system using global coupled ocean-atmosphere models.
Some more details
THOR will establish an operational system that will monitor and forecast the development of the North Atlantic THC on decadal time scales, and access its stability, and the risk of a breakdown in a changing climate. Together with pre-existing data sets, ongoing observations within the project will allow precise quantitative monitoring of the Atlantic THC and its sources. For the first time, this will allow an assessment of the strength of the Atlantic THC and of its sources in a consistent manner, and it will provide early identification of any systematic changes in the THC that might occur. Analysis of palaeo observations covering the last millennium, and millennium time scale experiments with coupled climate models will be carried out to identify the relevant key processes and feedback mechanisms between ocean, atmosphere, and cryosphere. In THOR, the combined effect of various global warming scenarios and melting of the Greenland ice sheet will also be thoroughly assessed in a coupled climate model. Through these studies and the assimilation of systematic oceanic observations at key locations into ocean circulation models, THOR will forecast the development of the Atlantic THC and its variability until 2025, using global coupled ocean-atmosphere models. THOR will also assess induced climate implications of changes in the THC, and the probability of extreme climate events, with special emphasis on the European/North Atlantic region. THOR builds upon techniques, methods and models developed during several projects funded within FP5 and FP6 as well as many nationally funded projects. The project will contribute to Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), to Global Observing Systems such as to the Global Ocean Observing system (GOOS), and to the International Polar Year (IPY).
What we have achieved so far?
Short summary of the project status (updated 31 Jan. 2013): download the PDF
Short summary of the project status (updated on 30 Jan. 2012): download the PDF