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Long-Wave Dynamics of Sea Level Variations during Indian Ocean Dipole Events

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
  • | 2 LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

Long-wave dynamics of the interannual variations of the equatorial Indian Ocean circulation are studied using an ocean general circulation model forced by the assimilated surface winds and heat flux of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The simulation has reproduced the sea level anomalies of the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/Poseidon altimeter observations well. The equatorial Kelvin and Rossby waves decomposed from the model simulation show that western boundary reflections provide important negative feedbacks to the evolution of the upwelling currents off the Java coast during Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) events. Two downwelling Kelvin wave pulses are generated at the western boundary during IOD events: the first is reflected from the equatorial Rossby waves and the second from the off-equatorial Rossby waves in the southern Indian Ocean. The upwelling in the eastern basin during the 1997–98 IOD event is weakened by the first Kelvin wave pulse and terminated by the second. In comparison, the upwelling during the 1994 IOD event is terminated by the first Kelvin wave pulse because the southeasterly winds off the Java coast are weak at the end of 1994.

The atmospheric intraseasonal forcing, which plays an important role in inducing Java upwelling during the early stage of an IOD event, is found to play a minor role in terminating the upwelling off the Java coast because the intraseasonal winds are either weak or absent during the IOD mature phase. The equatorial wave analyses suggest that the upwelling off the Java coast during IOD events is terminated primarily by western boundary reflections.

Corresponding author address: Dongliang Yuan, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 7 Nanhai Road, Qingdao, 266071, China. Email: dyuan@ms.qdio.ac.cn

Abstract

Long-wave dynamics of the interannual variations of the equatorial Indian Ocean circulation are studied using an ocean general circulation model forced by the assimilated surface winds and heat flux of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The simulation has reproduced the sea level anomalies of the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/Poseidon altimeter observations well. The equatorial Kelvin and Rossby waves decomposed from the model simulation show that western boundary reflections provide important negative feedbacks to the evolution of the upwelling currents off the Java coast during Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) events. Two downwelling Kelvin wave pulses are generated at the western boundary during IOD events: the first is reflected from the equatorial Rossby waves and the second from the off-equatorial Rossby waves in the southern Indian Ocean. The upwelling in the eastern basin during the 1997–98 IOD event is weakened by the first Kelvin wave pulse and terminated by the second. In comparison, the upwelling during the 1994 IOD event is terminated by the first Kelvin wave pulse because the southeasterly winds off the Java coast are weak at the end of 1994.

The atmospheric intraseasonal forcing, which plays an important role in inducing Java upwelling during the early stage of an IOD event, is found to play a minor role in terminating the upwelling off the Java coast because the intraseasonal winds are either weak or absent during the IOD mature phase. The equatorial wave analyses suggest that the upwelling off the Java coast during IOD events is terminated primarily by western boundary reflections.

Corresponding author address: Dongliang Yuan, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 7 Nanhai Road, Qingdao, 266071, China. Email: dyuan@ms.qdio.ac.cn

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