Rapid Climate Change (RAPID) was a £20 million, six-year (2001-2007) programme for the Natural Environment Research Council. The programme aimed to improve the ability to quantify the probability and magnitude of future rapid change in climate, with a main (but not exclusive) focus on the role of the Atlantic Ocean's Thermohaline Circulation.
The project investigated two aspects of the Nordic Seas circulation of importance to the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC): (1) Sources of water in the Greenland-Scotland overflows: recent tracer release and transient tracer observations were used to constrain inverse models of the sources of Denmark Straits and Faroe-Bank channel overflow waters. (2) The initiation of convection and its relation to submesoscale hydrodynamics: very high-resolution non-hydrostatic models for the Central Greenland Sea were used to model recent observations, which show convection to be intimately related to local sub-mesoscale structure.: The objective was to develop improved descriptions of convection for use in OGCMs, to more accurately describe how the sinking branch of the MOC will be affected by changes in forcing.