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  • Air–Sea Interactions from the Diurnal to the Intraseasonal during the PISTON, MISOBOB, and CAMP2Ex Observational Campaigns in the Tropics x
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Luc Rainville
,
Craig M. Lee
,
K. Arulananthan
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
Harindra J. S. Fernando
,
W. N. C. Priyadarshani
, and
Hemantha Wijesekera

Abstract

We present high-resolution sustained, persistent observations of the ocean around Sri Lanka from autonomous gliders collected over several years, a region with complex, variable circulation patterns connecting the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea to each other and the rest of the Indian Ocean. The Seaglider surveys resolve seasonal to interannual variability in vertical and horizontal structure, allowing quantification of volume, heat, and freshwater fluxes, as well as the transformations and transports of key water mass classes across sections normal to the east (2014–15) and south (2016–19) coasts of Sri Lanka. The resulting transports point to the importance of both surface and subsurface flows and show that the direct pathway along the Sri Lankan coast plays a significant role in the exchanges of waters between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Significant section-to-section variability highlights the need for sustained, long-term observations to quantify the circulation pathways and dynamics associated with exchange between the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea and provides context for interpreting observations collected as “snapshots” of more limited duration.

Significance Statement

The strong seasonal variations of the wind in the Indian Ocean create large and rapid changes in the ocean’s properties near Sri Lanka. This variable and poorly observed circulation is very important for how temperature and salinity are distributed across the northern Indian Ocean, both at the surface and at depths. Long-term and repeated surveys from autonomous Seagliders allow us to understand how freshwater inflow, atmospheric forcing, and underlying ocean variability act to produce observed contrasts (spatial and seasonal) in upper-ocean structure of the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

Open access
Sebastian Essink
,
Verena Hormann
,
Luca R. Centurioni
, and
Amala Mahadevan

Abstract

Horizontal kinematic properties, such as vorticity, divergence, and lateral strain rate, are estimated from drifter clusters using three approaches. At submesoscale horizontal length scales O ( 1 10 ) km , kinematic properties become as large as planetary vorticity f, but challenging to observe because they evolve on short time scales O ( hours to days ) . By simulating surface drifters in a model flow field, we quantify the sources of uncertainty in the kinematic property calculations due to the deformation of cluster shape. Uncertainties arise primarily due to (i) violation of the linear estimation methods and (ii) aliasing of unresolved scales. Systematic uncertainties (iii) due to GPS errors, are secondary but can become as large as (i) and (ii) when aspect ratios are small. Ideal cluster parameters (number of drifters, length scale, and aspect ratio) are determined and error functions estimated empirically and theoretically. The most robust method—a two-dimensional, linear least squares fit—is applied to the first few days of a drifter dataset from the Bay of Bengal. Application of the length scale and aspect-ratio criteria minimizes errors (i) and (ii), and reduces the total number of clusters and so computational cost. The drifter-estimated kinematic properties map out a cyclonic mesoscale eddy with a surface, submesoscale fronts at its perimeter. Our analyses suggest methodological guidance for computing the two-dimensional kinematic properties in submesoscale flows, given the recently increasing quantity and quality of drifter observations, while also highlighting challenges and limitations.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to provide insights and guidance for computing horizontal velocity gradients from clusters (i.e., three or more) of Lagrangian surface ocean drifters. The uncertainty in velocity gradient estimates depends strongly on the shape deformation of drifter clusters by the ocean currents. We propose criteria for drifter cluster length scales and aspect ratios to reduce uncertainties and develop ways of estimating the magnitude of the resulting errors. The findings are applied to a real ocean dataset from the Bay of Bengal.

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Kerstin Cullen
,
Emily Shroyer
, and
Larry O’Neill

Abstract

The Sri Lanka Dome is a cyclonic recirculation feature in the Southwest Monsoon Current system in the southern Bay of Bengal. Cooler sea surface temperature (SST) in the vicinity of this system is often denoted as the Bay of Bengal “Cold Pool.” Although the wind shadow of Sri Lanka creates a region of strong positive wind stress curl, both sea level height dynamics and the distribution of cool SST cannot be explained by wind stress curl alone via traditional Ekman pumping. Moreover, the Cold Pool region is often aligned with the eastern portion of the Sri Lanka Dome, as defined by sea surface height. Previous work has attributed the spatial SST pattern to lateral advection. In this analysis, we explore whether low-latitude weakly nonlinear “vorticity” Ekman pumping could be an explanation for both cooling and observed changes in sea level height in the southwest Bay of Bengal. We show that weakly nonlinear upwelling, calculated from ERA5 and AVISO geostrophic currents, collocates with changes in sea level height (and presumably isopycnals). While the SST signal is sensitive to several factors including the net surface flux, regional upwelling explains changes in AVISO sea level height if the nonlinear terms are included, in both the Sri Lanka Dome and the region of the Southwest Monsoon Current.

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Patrick Orenstein
,
Baylor Fox-Kemper
,
Leah Johnson
,
Qing Li
, and
Aakash Sane

Abstract

Empirically generated indices are used to evaluate the skill of a global climate model in representing the monsoon intraseasonal oscillation (MISO). This work adapts the method of Suhas et al., an extended empirical orthogonal function (EEOF) analysis of daily rainfall data with the first orthogonal function indicating MISO strength and phase. This method is applied to observed rainfall and Community Earth System Model (CESM1.2) simulation results. Variants of the CESM1.2 including upper ocean parameterizations for Langmuir turbulence and submesoscale mixed layer eddy restratification are used together with the EEOF analysis to explore sensitivity of the MISO to global upper ocean process representations. The skill with which the model variants recreate the MISO strength and persistence is evaluated versus the observed MISO. While all model versions reproduce the northward rainfall propagation traditionally associated with the MISO, a version including both Langmuir turbulence and submesoscale restratification parameterizations provides the most accurate simulations of the time scale of MISO events.

Full access
Peter G. Veals
,
Adam C. Varble
,
James O. H. Russell
,
Joseph C. Hardin
, and
Edward J. Zipser

Abstract

An aerosol indirect effect on deep convective cores (DCCs), by which increasing aerosol concentration increases cloud-top height via enhanced latent heating and updraft velocity, has been proposed in many studies. However, the magnitude of this effect remains uncertain due to aerosol measurement limitations, modulation of the effect by meteorological conditions, and difficulties untangling meteorological and aerosol effects on DCCs. The Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (CACTI) campaign in 2018–19 produced concentrated aerosol and cloud observations in a location with frequent DCCs, providing an opportunity to examine the proposed aerosol indirect effect on DCC depth in a rigorous and robust manner. For periods throughout the campaign with well-mixed boundary layers, we analyze relationships that exist between aerosol variables (condensation nuclei concentration > 10 nm, 0.4% cloud condensation nuclei concentration, 55–1000-nm aerosol concentration, and aerosol optical depth) and meteorological variables [level of neutral buoyancy (LNB), convective available potential energy, midlevel relative humidity, and deep-layer vertical wind shear] with the maximum radar-echo-top height and cloud-top temperature (CTT) of DCCs. Meteorological variables such as LNB and deep-layer shear are strongly correlated with DCC depth. LNB is also highly correlated with three of the aerosol variables. After accounting for meteorological correlations, increasing values of the aerosol variables [with the exception of one formulation of aerosol optical depth (AOD)] are generally correlated at a statistically significant level with a warmer CTT of DCCs. Therefore, for the study region and period considered, increasing aerosol concentration is mostly associated with a decrease in DCC depth.

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Hemantha W. Wijesekera
,
W. J. Teague
,
David W. Wang
,
Z. R. Hallock
,
Conrad A. Luecke
,
Ewa Jarosz
,
H. J. S. Fernando
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
Tommy G. Jensen
,
Adam Rydbeck
, and
Maria Flatau

Abstract

Upper-ocean heat content and heat fluxes of 10–60-day intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) were examined using high-resolution currents and hydrographic fields measured at five deep-water moorings in the central Bay of Bengal (BoB) and satellite observations as part of an international effort examining the role of the ocean on monsoon intraseasonal oscillations (MISOs) in the BoB. Currents, temperature, and salinity were sampled over the upper 600–1200 m from July 2018 to June 2019. The 10–60-day velocity ISOs of magnitudes 20–30 cm s−1 were observed in the upper 200 m, and temperature ISOs as large as 3°C were observed in the thermocline near 100 m. The wavelet cospectral analysis reveals multiple periods of ISOs carrying heat southward. The meridional heat-flux divergence associated with the 10–60-day band was strongest in the central BoB at depths between 40 and 100 m, where the averaged flux divergence over the observational period is as large as 10−7 °C s−1. The vertically integrated heat-flux divergence in the upper 200 m is about 20–30 W m−2, which is comparable to the annual-average net surface heat flux in the northern BoB. Correlations between the heat content over the 26°C isotherm and the outgoing longwave radiation indicate that the atmospheric forcing typically leads changes of the oceanic heat content, but in some instances, during fall–winter months, oceanic heat content leads the atmospheric convection. Our analyses suggest that ISOs play an important role in the upper-ocean heat balance by transporting heat southward, while aiding the air–sea coupling at ISO time scales.

Full access
K. Jossia Joseph
,
Amit Tandon
,
R. Venkatesan
,
J. Thomas Farrar
, and
Robert A. Weller

Abstract

The inception of a moored buoy network in the northern Indian Ocean in 1997 paved the way for systematic collection of long-term time series observations of meteorological and oceanographic parameters. This buoy network was revamped in 2011 with Ocean Moored buoy Network for north Indian Ocean (OMNI) buoys fitted with additional sensors to better quantify the air–sea fluxes. An intercomparison of OMNI buoy measurements with the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) mooring during the year 2015 revealed an overestimation of downwelling longwave radiation (LWR↓). Analysis of the OMNI and WHOI radiation sensors at a test station at National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) during 2019 revealed that the accurate and stable amplification of the thermopile voltage records along with the customized datalogger in the WHOI system results in better estimations of LWR↓. The offset in NIOT measured LWR↓ is estimated first by segregating the LWR↓ during clear-sky conditions identified using the downwelling shortwave radiation measurements from the same test station, and second, finding the offset by taking the difference with expected theoretical clear-sky LWR↓. The corrected LWR↓ exhibited good agreement with that of collocated WHOI measurements, with a correlation of 0.93. This method is applied to the OMNI field measurements and again compared with the nearby WHOI mooring measurements, exhibiting a better correlation of 0.95. This work has led to the revamping of radiation measurements in OMNI buoys and provides a reliable method to correct past measurements and improve estimation of air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean.

Significance Statement

Downwelling longwave radiation (LWR↓) is an important climate variable for calculating air–sea heat exchange and quantifying Earth’s energy budget. An intercomparison of LWR↓ measurements between ocean observing platforms in the north Indian Ocean revealed a systematic offset in National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Ocean Moored buoy Network for north Indian Ocean (OMNI) buoys. The observed offset limited our capability to accurately estimate air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean. The sensor measurements were compared with a standard reference system, which revealed problems in thermopile amplifier as the root cause of the offset. This work led to the development of a reliable method to correct the offset in LWR↓ and revamping of radiation measurements in NIOT-OMNI buoys. The correction is being applied to the past measurements from 12 OMNI buoys over 8 years to improve the estimation of air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean.

Open access
Michael B. Natoli
and
Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

The impact of quasi-biweekly variability in the monsoon southwesterly winds on the precipitation diurnal cycle in the Philippines is examined using CMORPH precipitation, ERA5 data, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) fields. Both a case study during the 2018 Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign and a 23-yr composite analysis are used to understand the effect of the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) on the diurnal cycle. QBWO events in the west Pacific, identified with an extended EOF index, bring increases in moisture, cloudiness, and westerly winds to the Philippines. Such events are associated with significant variability in daily mean precipitation and the diurnal cycle. It is shown that the modulation of the diurnal cycle by the QBWO is remarkably similar to that by the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). The diurnal cycle reaches maximum amplitude on the western side of the Philippines on days with average to above-average moisture, sufficient insolation, and weakly offshore prevailing wind. This occurs during the transition period from suppressed to active large-scale convection for both the QBWO and BSISO. Westerly monsoon surges associated with QBWO variability generally exhibit active precipitation over the South China Sea (SCS), but a depressed diurnal cycle. These results highlight that modes of large-scale convective variability in the tropics can have a similar impact on the diurnal cycle if they influence the local-scale environmental background state similarly.

Full access
Emily Shroyer
,
Amit Tandon
,
Debasis Sengupta
,
Harindra J. S. Fernando
,
Andrew J. Lucas
,
J. Thomas Farrar
,
Rajib Chattopadhyay
,
Simon de Szoeke
,
Maria Flatau
,
Adam Rydbeck
,
Hemantha Wijesekera
,
Michael McPhaden
,
Hyodae Seo
,
Aneesh Subramanian
,
R Venkatesan
,
Jossia Joseph
,
S. Ramsundaram
,
Arnold L. Gordon
,
Shannon M. Bohman
,
Jaynise Pérez
,
Iury T. Simoes-Sousa
,
Steven R. Jayne
,
Robert E. Todd
,
G. S. Bhat
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Tamara Schlosser
,
Katherine Adams
,
S. U. P Jinadasa
,
Manikandan Mathur
,
M. Mohapatra
,
E. Pattabhi Rama Rao
,
A. K. Sahai
,
Rashmi Sharma
,
Craig Lee
,
Luc Rainville
,
Deepak Cherian
,
Kerstin Cullen
,
Luca R. Centurioni
,
Verena Hormann
,
Jennifer MacKinnon
,
Uwe Send
,
Arachaporn Anutaliya
,
Amy Waterhouse
,
Garrett S. Black
,
Jeremy A. Dehart
,
Kaitlyn M. Woods
,
Edward Creegan
,
Gad Levy
,
Lakshmi H. Kantha
, and
Bulusu Subrahmanyam

Abstract

In the Bay of Bengal, the warm, dry boreal spring concludes with the onset of the summer monsoon and accompanying southwesterly winds, heavy rains, and variable air–sea fluxes. Here, we summarize the 2018 monsoon onset using observations collected through the multinational Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Bay of Bengal (MISO-BoB) program between the United States, India, and Sri Lanka. MISO-BoB aims to improve understanding of monsoon intraseasonal variability, and the 2018 field effort captured the coupled air–sea response during a transition from active-to-break conditions in the central BoB. The active phase of the ∼20-day research cruise was characterized by warm sea surface temperature (SST > 30°C), cold atmospheric outflows with intermittent heavy rainfall, and increasing winds (from 2 to 15 m s−1). Accumulated rainfall exceeded 200 mm with 90% of precipitation occurring during the first week. The following break period was both dry and clear, with persistent 10–12 m s−1 wind and evaporation of 0.2 mm h−1. The evolving environmental state included a deepening ocean mixed layer (from ∼20 to 50 m), cooling SST (by ∼1°C), and warming/drying of the lower to midtroposphere. Local atmospheric development was consistent with phasing of the large-scale intraseasonal oscillation. The upper ocean stores significant heat in the BoB, enough to maintain SST above 29°C despite cooling by surface fluxes and ocean mixing. Comparison with reanalysis indicates biases in air–sea fluxes, which may be related to overly cool prescribed SST. Resolution of such biases offers a path toward improved forecasting of transition periods in the monsoon.

Full access
B. Praveen Kumar
,
Eric D’Asaro
,
N. Sureshkumar
,
E. Pattabhi Rama Rao
, and
M. Ravichandran

Abstract

We use profiles from a Lagrangian float in the north Indian Ocean to explore the usefulness of Thorpe analysis methods to measure vertical scales and dissipation rates in the ocean surface boundary layer. An rms Thorpe length scale L T and an energy dissipation rate ε T were computed by resorting the measured density profiles. These are compared to the mixed layer depth (MLD) computed with different density thresholds, the Monin–Obukhov (MO) length L MO computed from the ERA5 reanalysis values of wind stress, and buoyancy flux B 0 and dissipation rates ε from historical microstructure data. The Thorpe length scale L T is found to accurately match MLD for small (<0.005 kg m−3) density thresholds, but not for larger thresholds, because these do not detect the warm diurnal layers. We use ξ = L T /|L MO| to classify the boundary layer turbulence during nighttime convection. In our data, 90% of points from the Bay of Bengal (Arabian Sea) satisfy ξ < 1 (1 < ξ <10), indicating that wind forcing is (both wind forcing and convection are) driving the turbulence. Over the measured range of ξ, ε T decreases with decreasing ξ, i.e., more wind forcing, while ε increases, clearly showing that ε/ε T decreases with increasing ξ. This is explained by a new scaling for ξ ≪ 1, ε T = 1.15B 0 ξ 0.5 compared to the historical scaling ε = 0.64B 0 + 1.76ξ −1. For ξ ≪ 1 we expect ε = ε T . Similar calculations may be possible using routine Argo float and ship data, allowing more detailed global measurements of ε T , thereby providing large-scale tests of turbulence scaling in boundary layers.

Full access