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P. N. Vinayachandran and Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Results from an ocean general circulation model are used to study the response of the oceanic region surrounding Sri Lanka to monsoonal winds. East of Sri Lanka, a cold dome (Sri Lanka dome, SLD) develops during the southwest monsoon (SWM) in response to cyclonic curl in the local wind field. The dome decays after September due to the arrival of a long Rossby wave, associated with the reflection of the spring Wyrtki jet at the eastern boundary of the ocean. East of the SLD an anticyclonic eddy exists that is in intermediate geostrophic (IG) balance. North of Sri Lanka a cold dome (Bay of Bengal dome) develops after the SWM associated with a cyclonic gyre forced by Ekman pumping. The source of cold water of the Bay of Bengal dome is traced back to the SLD and upwelling zone along the east coast of India. South of Sri Lanka a major part of the Southwest Monsoon Current (SMC) turns northeastward and flows into the Bay of Bengal. The part that flows eastward terminates at progressively western longitudes as the season progresses. This termination and the shallowness of the SMC is due to a Rossby wave generated near the eastern boundary by weakening of the spring Wyrtki jet and anticyclonic wind stress curl. This Rossby wave follows the one associated with the spring Wyrtki jet and has dominant velocities toward southwest. A large anticyclonic vortex, embedded in the SMC, results from the geostrophic adjustment process for the surface water converged by the long Rossby wave and the eastward zonal current. Energy analysis of this anticyclonic vortex as well as the IG eddy east of the SLD shows direct conversion from mean kinetic energy to eddy kinetic energy suggesting that barotropic instability is the mechanism that leads to eddy generation.

This study suggests two links that allow exchange between the Bay of Bengal and the rest of the Indian Ocean: The first is the SMC, which is an open ocean current, and the second is the equatorward East India Coastal Current during November–January, which is closely attached to the coast.

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P. N. Vinayachandran, Fraser Davidson, and Eric P. Chassignet
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Jenson V. George, P. N. Vinayachandran, and Anoop A. Nayak

Abstract

The inflow of high-saline water from the Arabian Sea (AS) into the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and its subsequent mixing with the relatively fresh BoB water is vital for the north Indian Ocean salt budget. During June–September, the Summer Monsoon Current carries high-salinity water from the AS to the BoB. A time series of microstructure and hydrographic data collected from 4 to 14 July 2016 in the southern BoB (8°N, 89°E) showed the presence of a subsurface (60–150 m) high-salinity core. The high-salinity core was composed of relatively warm and saline AS water overlying the relatively cold and fresh BoB water. The lower part of the high-salinity core showed double-diffusive salt fingering instability. Salt fingering staircases with varying thickness (up to 10 m) in the temperature and salinity profiles were also observed at the base of a high-salinity core at approximately 75–150-m depth. The average downward diapycnal salt flux out of the high-salinity core due to the effect of salt fingering was 2.8 × 10−7 kg m−2 s−1, approximately one order of magnitude higher than the flux if salt fingering was neglected.

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Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, Elizabeth C. Kent, Adrian J. Matthews, Benjamin G. M. Webber, Simon C. Peatman, and P. N. Vinayachandran

Abstract

In the Bay of Bengal (BoB), surface heat fluxes play a key role in monsoon dynamics and prediction. The accurate representation of large-scale surface fluxes is dependent on the quality of gridded reanalysis products. Meteorological and surface flux variables from five reanalysis products are compared and evaluated against in situ data from the Research Moored Array for African–Asian–Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) in the BoB. The reanalysis products: ERA-Interim (ERA-I), TropFlux, MERRA-2, JRA-55, and CFSR are assessed for their characterization of air–sea fluxes during the southwest monsoon season [June–September (JJAS)]. ERA-I captured radiative fluxes best while TropFlux captured turbulent and net heat fluxes Q net best, and both products outperformed JRA-55, MERRA-2, and CFSR, showing highest correlations and smallest biases when compared to the in situ data. In all five products, the largest errors were in shortwave radiation Q SW and latent heat flux Q LH, with nonnegligible biases up to approximately 75 W m−2. The Q SW and Q LH are the largest drivers of the observed Q net variability, thus highlighting the importance of the results from the buoy comparison. There are also spatially coherent differences in the mean basinwide fields of surface flux variables from the reanalysis products, indicating that the biases at the buoy position are not localized. Biases of this magnitude have severe implications on reanalysis products’ ability to capture the variability of monsoon processes. Hence, the representation of intraseasonal variability was investigated through the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation, and we found that TropFlux and ERA-I perform best at capturing intraseasonal climate variability during the southwest monsoon season.

Open access
Benjamin G. M. Webber, Adrian J. Matthews, P. N. Vinayachandran, C. P. Neema, Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, V. Vijith, P. Amol, and Dariusz B. Baranowski

Abstract

The strong stratification of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) causes rapid variations in sea surface temperature (SST) that influence the development of monsoon rainfall systems. This stratification is driven by the salinity difference between the fresh surface waters of the northern bay and the supply of warm, salty water by the Southwest Monsoon Current (SMC). Despite the influence of the SMC on monsoon dynamics, observations of this current during the monsoon are sparse. Using data from high-resolution in situ measurements along an east–west section at 8°N in the southern BoB, we calculate that the northward transport during July 2016 was between 16.7 and 24.5 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), although up to ⅔ of this transport is associated with persistent recirculating eddies, including the Sri Lanka Dome. Comparison with climatology suggests the SMC in early July was close to the average annual maximum strength. The NEMO 1/12° ocean model with data assimilation is found to faithfully represent the variability of the SMC and associated water masses. We show how the variability in SMC strength and position is driven by the complex interplay between local forcing (wind stress curl over the Sri Lanka Dome) and remote forcing (Kelvin and Rossby wave propagation). Thus, various modes of climatic variability will influence SMC strength and location on time scales from weeks to years. Idealized one-dimensional ocean model experiments show that subsurface water masses advected by the SMC significantly alter the evolution of SST and salinity, potentially impacting Indian monsoon rainfall.

Open access
Jenson V. George, P. N. Vinayachandran, V. Vijith, V. Thushara, Anoop A. Nayak, Shrikant M. Pargaonkar, P. Amol, K. Vijaykumar, and Adrian J. Matthews

Abstract

During the Bay of Bengal (BoB) Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE) in the southern BoB, time series of microstructure measurements were obtained at 8°N, 89°E from 4 to 14 July 2016. These observations captured events of barrier layer (BL) erosion and reformation. Initially, a three-layer structure was observed: a fresh surface mixed layer (ML) of thickness 10–20 m; a BL below of 30–40-m thickness with similar temperature but higher salinity; and a high salinity core layer, associated with the Summer Monsoon Current. Each of these three layers was in relative motion to the others, leading to regions of high shear at the interfaces. However, the destabilizing influence of the shear regions was not enough to overcome the haline stratification, and the three-layer structure was preserved. A salinity budget using in situ observations suggested that during the BL erosion, differential advection brought high salinity surface waters (34.5 psu) with weak stratification to the time series location and replaced the three-layer structure with a deep ML (~60 m). The resulting weakened stratification at the time series location then allowed atmospheric wind forcing to penetrate deeper. The turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate and eddy diffusivity showed elevated values above 10−7 W kg−1 and 10−4 m2 s−1, respectively, in the upper 60 m. Later, the surface salinity decreased again (33.8 psu) through differential horizontal advection, stratification became stronger and elevated mixing rates were confined to the upper 20 m, and the BL reformed. A 1D model experiment suggested that in the study region, differential advection of temperature–salinity characteristics is essential for the maintenance of BL and to the extent to which mixing penetrates the water column.

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G. S. Bhat, S. Gadgil, P. V. Hareesh Kumar, S. R. Kalsi, P. Madhusoodanan, V. S. N. Murty, C. V. K. Prasada Rao, V. Ramesh Babu, L. V. G. Rao, R. R. Rao, M. Ravichandran, K. G. Reddy, P. Sanjeeva Rao, D. Sengupta, D. R. Sikka, J. Swain, and P. N. Vinayachandran

The first observational experiment under the Indian Climate Research Programme, called the Bay of Bengal Monsoon Experiment (BOBMEX), was carried out during July–August 1999. BOBMEX was aimed at measurements of important variables of the atmosphere, ocean, and their interface to gain deeper insight into some of the processes that govern the variability of organized convection over the bay. Simultaneous time series observations were carried out in the northern and southern Bay of Bengal from ships and moored buoys. About 80 scientists from 15 different institutions in India collaborated during BOBMEX to make observations in most-hostile conditions of the raging monsoon. In this paper, the objectives and the design of BOBMEX are described and some initial results presented.

During the BOBMEX field phase there were several active spells of convection over the bay, separated by weak spells. Observation with high-resolution radiosondes, launched for the first time over the northern bay, showed that the magnitudes of the convective available potential energy (CAPE) and the convective inhibition energy were comparable to those for the atmosphere over the west Pacific warm pool. CAPE decreased by 2–3 kg−1 following convection, and recovered in a time period of 1–2 days. The surface wind speed was generally higher than 8 m s−1.

The thermohaline structure as well as its time evolution during the BOBMEX field phase were found to be different in the northern bay than in the southern bay. Over both the regions, the SST decreased during rain events and increased in cloud-free conditions. Over the season as a whole, the upper-layer salinity decreased for the north bay and increased for the south bay. The variation in SST during 1999 was found to be of smaller amplitude than in 1998. Further analysis of the surface fluxes and currents is expected to give insight into the nature of coupling.

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P. A. Francis, A. K. Jithin, J. B. Effy, A. Chatterjee, K. Chakraborty, A. Paul, B. Balaji, S. S. C. Shenoi, P. Biswamoy, A. Mukherjee, P. Singh, B. Deepsankar, S. Siva Reddy, P. N. Vinayachandran, M. S. Girish Kumar, T. V. S. Udaya Bhaskar, M. Ravichandran, A. S. Unnikrishnan, D. Shankar, A. Prakash, S. G. Aparna, R. Harikumar, K. Kaviyazhahu, K. Suprit, R. V. Shesu, N. Kiran Kumar, N. Srinivasa Rao, K. Annapurnaiah, R. Venkatesan, A. S. Rao, E. N. Rajagopal, V. S. Prasad, M. D. Gupta, T. M. Balakrishnan Nair, E. P. R. Rao, and B. V. Satyanarayana

Abstract

A good understanding of the general circulation features of the oceans, particularly of the coastal waters, and ability to predict the key oceanographic parameters with good accuracy and sufficient lead time are necessary for the safe conduct of maritime activities such as fishing, shipping, and offshore industries. Considering these requirements and buoyed by the advancements in the field of ocean modeling, data assimilation, and ocean observation networks along with the availability of the high-performance computational facility in India, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services has set up a “High-Resolution Operational Ocean Forecast and Reanalysis System” (HOOFS) with an aim to provide accurate ocean analysis and forecasts for the public, researchers, and other types of users like navigators and the Indian Coast Guard. Major components of HOOFS are (i) a suite of numerical ocean models configured for the Indian Ocean and the coastal waters using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) for forecasting physical and biogeochemical state of the ocean and (ii) the data assimilation based on local ensemble transform Kalman filter that assimilates in situ and satellite observations in ROMS. Apart from the routine forecasts of key oceanographic parameters, a few important applications such as (i) Potential Fishing Zone forecasting system and (ii) Search and Rescue Aid Tool are also developed as part of the HOOFS project. The architecture of HOOFS, an account of the quality of ocean analysis and forecasts produced by it and important applications developed based on HOOFS are briefly discussed in this article.

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P. N. Vinayachandran, Adrian J. Matthews, K. Vijay Kumar, Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, V. Thushara, Jenson George, V. Vijith, Benjamin G. M. Webber, Bastien Y. Queste, Rajdeep Roy, Amit Sarkar, Dariusz B. Baranowski, G. S. Bhat, Nicholas P. Klingaman, Simon C. Peatman, C. Parida, Karen J. Heywood, Robert Hall, Brian King, Elizabeth C. Kent, Anoop A. Nayak, C. P. Neema, P. Amol, A. Lotliker, A. Kankonkar, D. G. Gracias, S. Vernekar, A. C. D’Souza, G. Valluvan, Shrikant M. Pargaonkar, K. Dinesh, Jack Giddings, and Manoj Joshi

Abstract

The Bay of Bengal (BoB) plays a fundamental role in controlling the weather systems that make up the South Asian summer monsoon system. In particular, the southern BoB has cooler sea surface temperatures (SST) that influence ocean–atmosphere interaction and impact the monsoon. Compared to the southeastern BoB, the southwestern BoB is cooler, more saline, receives much less rain, and is influenced by the summer monsoon current (SMC). To examine the impact of these features on the monsoon, the BoB Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE) was jointly undertaken by India and the United Kingdom during June–July 2016. Physical and biogeochemical observations were made using a conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) profiler, five ocean gliders, an Oceanscience Underway CTD (uCTD), a vertical microstructure profiler (VMP), two acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), Argo floats, drifting buoys, meteorological sensors, and upper-air radiosonde balloons. The observations were made along a zonal section at 8°N between 85.3° and 89°E with a 10-day time series at 8°N, 89°E. This paper presents the new observed features of the southern BoB from the BoBBLE field program, supported by satellite data. Key results from the BoBBLE field campaign show the Sri Lanka dome and the SMC in different stages of their seasonal evolution and two freshening events during which salinity decreased in the upper layer, leading to the formation of thick barrier layers. BoBBLE observations were taken during a suppressed phase of the intraseasonal oscillation; they captured in detail the warming of the ocean mixed layer and the preconditioning of the atmosphere to convection.

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