RAPID: monitoring the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26.5°N

"The Rapid Climate Change programme (RAPID) explores what causes rapid switches in climate, with a main (but not exclusive) focus on the Atlantic Ocean's thermohaline circulation."

"A principal objective of the RAPID programme is the development and maintenance of a pre-operational prototype system that will continuously observe the strength and structure of the MOC. An initiative has been formed to fulfill this objective and consists of three interlinked projects:

  1. Nineteen moorings were deployed in March 2004 across the Atlantic at 26.5°N to measure the southward branch of the MOC (Hirschi et al., 2003, Baehr et al., 2004, Cunningham et al., 2007, Kanzow et al., 2007) .
  2. Additional moorings were deployed on the western boundary along 26.5°N in the framework of the U.S. Meridional Overturning Circulation and Heatflux Array (MOCHA) project (Prof. Bill Johns, University of Miami) to resolve transport in the Deep Western Boundary Current (Johns et al., 2005, 2008, Bryden et al., 2005). These moorings allow surface-to-bottom density profiles along the western boundary, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and eastern boundary to be observed. As a result, the transatlantic pressure gradient can be continuously measured.
  3. Dr Molly Baringer (NOAA/AOML) leads the monitoring of the northward branch of the MOC using submarine telephone cables in the Florida Straits (Baringer et al., 2001)."

An updated and extended suite of time series was released in July 2016. Some small changes were made in the calculation of the MOC. These are described in the ‘Readme' file which may be dowloaded from the WWW. This updated dataset supersedes the previous release.


Years of Record

2004/04 to 2015/10
temporal metadataID:




Data Time Period Extended?

yes, data set is extended

Ocean or Land

Ocean Only

Input Data

Moored bouys

Earth system components and main variables

Suggested Data Citation

"Data from the RAPID-WATCH MOC monitoring project are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and are freely available from www.rapid.ac.uk/rapidmoc."


RAPID-MOCHA: "Data from the RAPID-MOCHA program are funded by the U.S. National
Science Foundation and U.K. Natural Environment Research Council and are
freely available at www.noc.soton.ac.uk/rapidmoc and www.rsmas.miami.edu/users/mocha."

Data Access: Please Cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions.

Key Figures

Click the thumbnails to view larger sizes



Streamfunction (Sv) from downloaded netCDF file: moc_vertical.nc. The left scale is depth (m). (Climate Data Guide; D. Shea)

Cite this page

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 07 Jul 2016. "The Climate Data Guide: RAPID: monitoring the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26.5°N." Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/rapid-monitoring-atlantic-meridional-overturning-circulation-265%C2%B0n.

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.