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A. Anutaliya
,
U. Send
,
J. L. McClean
,
J. Sprintall
,
M. Lankhorst
,
C. M. Lee
,
L. Rainville
,
W. N. C. Priyadarshani
, and
S. U. P. Jinadasa

Abstract

Boundary currents along the Sri Lankan eastern and southern coasts serve as a pathway for salt exchange between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea basins in the northern Indian Ocean, which are characterized by their contrasting salinities. Measurements from two pairs of pressure-sensing inverted echo sounders (PIES) deployed along the Sri Lankan eastern and southern coasts as well as satellite measurements are used to understand the variability of these boundary currents and the associated salt transport. The volume transport in the surface (0–200-m depth) layer exhibits a seasonal cycle associated with the monsoonal wind reversal and interannual variability associated with the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD). In this layer, the boundary currents transport low-salinity water out of the Bay of Bengal during the northeast monsoon and transport high-salinity water into the Bay of Bengal during the fall monsoon transition of some years (e.g., 2015 and 2018). The Bay of Bengal salt input increases during the 2016 negative IOD as the eastward flow of high-salinity water during the fall monsoon transition intensifies, whereas the effect of the 2015/16 El Niño on the Bay of Bengal salt input is still unclear. The time-mean eddy salt flux over the upper 200 m estimated for the April 2015–March 2019 period along the eastern coast accounts for 9% of the salt budget required to balance an estimated 0.13 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) of annual freshwater input into the Bay of Bengal. The time-mean eddy salt flux over the upper 200 m estimated for the December 2015–November 2019 period along the southern coast accounts for 27% of that same salt budget.

Significance Statement

In the northern Indian Ocean, the highly saline Arabian Sea undergoes extreme evaporation while the Bay of Bengal (BoB) receives excess freshwater input. The focus of this study is the role of the observed time-variable circulation around Sri Lanka that permits the exchange between these basins to maintain their salinity distributions. The circulation fluctuates seasonally following the monsoon wind reversal and interannually in response to large-scale climate modes. The BoB freshwater export around Sri Lanka occurs during the northeast monsoon, whereas saline water import occurs during the fall monsoon transition of some years. However, rapid changes in both water volume transport and salt exchange can occur. The circulation over 0–200-m depth transports ∼9%–27% of the BoB salt budget.

Restricted access
H. W. Wijesekera
,
W. J. Teague
,
D. W. Wang
,
E. Jarosz
,
T. G. Jensen
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
H. J. S. Fernando
, and
Z. R. Hallock

Abstract

High-resolution currents and hydrographic fields were measured at six deep-water moorings in the southern Bay of Bengal (BoB) by the Naval Research Laboratory as part of an international effort focused on the dynamics of the Indian Ocean. Currents, temperature, and salinity were sampled over the upper 500 m for 20 months between December 2013 and August 2015. One of the major goals is to understand the space–time scales of the currents and physical processes that contribute to the exchange of water between the BoB and the Arabian Sea. The observations captured Southwest and Northeast Monsoon Currents, seasonally varying large eddies including a cyclonic eddy, the Sri Lanka dome (SLD), and an anticyclonic eddy southeast of the SLD. The observations further showed intraseasonal oscillations with periods of 30–70 days, near-inertial currents, and tides. Monthly averaged velocities commonly exceeded 50 cm s−1 near the surface, and extreme velocities exceeded 150 cm s−1 during the southwest monsoon. Tides were small and dominated by the M2 component with velocities of about 3 cm s−1. The average transport into the BoB over the measurement period was 2 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) but likely exceeded 15 Sv during summer of 2014. This study suggests the water exchange away from coastal boundaries, in the interior of the BoB, may be largely influenced by the location and strength of the two eddies that modify the path of the Southwest Monsoon Current. In addition, there is a pathway below 200 m for transport of water into the BoB throughout the year.

Full access
C. A. Luecke
,
H. W. Wijesekera
,
E. Jarosz
,
D. W. Wang
,
J. C. Wesson
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
H. J. S. Fernando
, and
W. J. Teague

Abstract

Long-term measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (ε), and turbulent temperature variance dissipation rate (χ T ) in the thermocline, along with currents, temperature, and salinity were made at two subsurface moorings in the southern Bay of Bengal (BoB). This is a part of a major international program, conducted between July 2018 and June 2019, for investigating the role of the BoB on the monsoon intraseasonal oscillations. One mooring was located on the typical path of the Southwest Monsoon Current (SMC), and the other was in a region where the Sri Lanka dome is typically found during the summer monsoon. Microstructure and finescale estimates of vertical diffusivity revealed the long-term subthermocline mixing patterns in the southern BoB. Enhanced turbulence and large eddy diffusivities were observed within the SMC during the passage of a subsurface-intensified anticyclonic eddy. During this time, background shear and strain appeared to influence high-frequency motions such as near-inertial waves and internal tides, leading to increased mixing. Near the Sri Lanka dome, enhanced dissipation occurred at the margins of the cyclonic feature. Turbulent mixing was enhanced with the passage of Rossby waves and eddies. During these events, values of χ T exceeding 10−4 °C2 s−1 were recorded concurrently with ε values exceeding 10−5 W kg−1. Inferred diffusivity peaked well above background values of 10−6 m2 s−1, leading to an annually averaged diffusivity near 10−4 m2 s−1. Turbulence appeared low throughout much of the deployment period. Most of the mixing occurred in spurts during isolated events.

Free access
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
C. A. Luecke
,
H. W. Wijesekera
,
E. Jarosz
,
D. W. Wang
,
T. G. Jensen
,
S.U.P. Jinadasa
,
H. J. S. Fernando
, and
W. J. Teague

Abstract

The formation of a sharp oceanic front located south-southeast of Sri Lanka during the southwest monsoon is examined through in-situ and remote observations, and high-resolution model output. Remote-sensing and model output reveal that the front extends approximately 200 km eastward from the southeast coast of Sri Lanka toward the southern Bay of Bengal (BoB). This annually occurring front is associated with the boundary between the southwest-monsoon current with high-salinity water to the south, and a weak-flow field comprised of relatively-fresh BoB water to the north. The front contains a line of high chlorophyll extending from the coastal-upwelling zone, often for several-hundred kilometers. Elevated turbulent diffusivities ~10−2 m2 s−1 along with large diapycnal fluxes of heat and salt were found within the front. The formation of the front and vertical transports are linked to local wind-stress curl. Large vertical velocities (~50 m d−1) indicate the importance of ageostropic, submesoscale processes. To examine these processes, the Ertel potential vorticity (PV) was computed using the observations and numerical model output. The model output shows a ribbon of negative PV along the front between the coastal upwelling zone and two eddies (Sri Lanka Dome and an anticyclonic eddy) typically found in the southern BoB. PV estimates support the view that the flow is susceptible to submesoscale instabilities, which in turn generate high vertical velocities within the front. Frontal upwelling and heightened mixing show that the seasonal front is regionally important to linking the fresh surface water of the BoB with the Arabian Sea.

Restricted access
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.

Restricted 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
Hemantha W. Wijesekera
,
Emily Shroyer
,
Amit Tandon
,
M. Ravichandran
,
Debasis Sengupta
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
Harindra J. S. Fernando
,
Neeraj Agrawal
,
K. Arulananthan
,
G. S. Bhat
,
Mark Baumgartner
,
Jared Buckley
,
Luca Centurioni
,
Patrick Conry
,
J. Thomas Farrar
,
Arnold L. Gordon
,
Verena Hormann
,
Ewa Jarosz
,
Tommy G. Jensen
,
Shaun Johnston
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Craig M. Lee
,
Laura S. Leo
,
Iossif Lozovatsky
,
Andrew J. Lucas
,
Jennifer Mackinnon
,
Amala Mahadevan
,
Jonathan Nash
,
Melissa M. Omand
,
Hieu Pham
,
Robert Pinkel
,
Luc Rainville
,
Sanjiv Ramachandran
,
Daniel L. Rudnick
,
Sutanu Sarkar
,
Uwe Send
,
Rashmi Sharma
,
Harper Simmons
,
Kathleen M. Stafford
,
Louis St. Laurent
,
Karan Venayagamoorthy
,
Ramasamy Venkatesan
,
William J. Teague
,
David W. Wang
,
Amy F. Waterhouse
,
Robert Weller
, and
Caitlin B. Whalen

Abstract

Air–Sea Interactions in the Northern Indian Ocean (ASIRI) is an international research effort (2013–17) aimed at understanding and quantifying coupled atmosphere–ocean dynamics of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) with relevance to Indian Ocean monsoons. Working collaboratively, more than 20 research institutions are acquiring field observations coupled with operational and high-resolution models to address scientific issues that have stymied the monsoon predictability. ASIRI combines new and mature observational technologies to resolve submesoscale to regional-scale currents and hydrophysical fields. These data reveal BoB’s sharp frontal features, submesoscale variability, low-salinity lenses and filaments, and shallow mixed layers, with relatively weak turbulent mixing. Observed physical features include energetic high-frequency internal waves in the southern BoB, energetic mesoscale and submesoscale features including an intrathermocline eddy in the central BoB, and a high-resolution view of the exchange along the periphery of Sri Lanka, which includes the 100-km-wide East India Coastal Current (EICC) carrying low-salinity water out of the BoB and an adjacent, broad northward flow (∼300 km wide) that carries high-salinity water into BoB during the northeast monsoon. Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) observations during the decaying phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) permit the study of multiscale atmospheric processes associated with non-MJO phenomena and their impacts on the marine boundary layer. Underway analyses that integrate observations and numerical simulations shed light on how air–sea interactions control the ABL and upper-ocean processes.

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