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Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume 50, Issues 12-13 , July 2003, Pages 2305-2330
Physical Oceanography of the Indian Ocean: from WOCE to CLIVAR

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doi:10.1016/S0967-0645(03)00058-4    How to cite or link using doi (opens new window) Cite or link using doi  
Copyright © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Coupled dynamics over the Indian Ocean: spring initiation of the Zonal Mode*1

H. AnnamalaiCorresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, a, R. Murtuguddeb, J. Potemraa, S. P. Xiea, c, P. Liua and B. Wanga, c

a International Pacific Research Center, IPRC/SOEST, University of Hawaii, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu 96822, USA
b ESSIC, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
c Department of Meteorology, SOEST, University of Hawaii, USA

Available online 22 May 2003.


Abstract

Atmosphere and ocean model assimilated products, in conjunction with observed precipitation and ocean model estimates of Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) transport and barrier layer thickness, are analyzed to elucidate the role of external (ENSO and ITF) and internal (monsoon) factors in the initiation of the Indian Ocean Zonal Mode (IOZM).

The diagnostics show that there exists a natural mode of coupled variability in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean (EEIO) that is weak on its own but intensifies in boreal spring/early summer, usually when ENSO-like conditions exist in the western Pacific, as implied by the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). In the EEIO, there exists a `time window' in the annual cycle––boreal spring––during which the ocean–atmosphere system is particularly sensitive to external forcing. At interannual timescales, spring atmospheric conditions in the EEIO are remotely controlled by SST in the equatorial western-central Pacific. Warm SST anomalies there cause changes in the Pacific Walker circulation and induce subsidence over the EEIO that results in negative precipitation anomalies: (i) Forced by this heat sink, an anticyclone develops in the lower atmosphere over the southeastern Indian Ocean as a Rossby-wave response, and the alongshore upwelling-favorable winds off Java–Sumatra are enhanced. (ii) The reduced surface fresh-water flux and enhanced upwelling reduce the barrier layer in the upper ocean. These processes along-with the reduction of ITF help trigger the IOZM. Once triggered, IOZM grows in summer by the Bjerknes feedback. Its interactions with the monsoon heat source result in enhanced precipitation along the monsoon trough in July–August. This north–south heating gradient favors a local meridional circulation with increased alongshore winds off Sumatra, implying the potential role of the monsoon background cycle.

The hypothesis that the equatorial western-central Pacific SST anomalies control the spring precipitation variations in the EEIO/maritime continent is demonstrated by sensitivity experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model. During the spring initiation stages of the IOZM, an analysis of the mixed layer heat budget in an ocean general circulation model indicates that cooling off Java is primarily due to entrainment and also due to latent cooling, both caused by enhanced upwelling-favorable winds.


Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Data
2.1. Observations/analysis
2.2. Ocean model output
3. Air–sea interaction and seasonality
3.1. Interannual variability
3.2. Natural mode of coupled variability in the Indian Ocean
3.3. Annual cycle over the EEIO
4. Anomalous walker circulation and the IOZM
4.1. EEIO spring conditions
4.2. How is an IOZM triggered?
4.2.1. Atmospheric processes
4.2.2. Oceanic processes
4.3. AGCM sensitivity experiments
4.4. Some limitations
5. Indonesian Throughflow and the IOZM
6. Interactions between monsoon and IOZM
7. Summary and discussions
Acknowledgements
References



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Fig. 1. RMS variance of (a) SST (°C), (b) Z20 (m), (c) HCA (°C m), (d) Precipitation (mm/day), (e) u-surface (m/s) and (f) v-surface (m/s).

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Fig. 2. B-monthly correlation between SST and Z20. Values significant at 95% levels are shown.

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Fig. 3. RMS variance of bi-monthly SST in °C. The contour interval is 0.05 and values greater than 0.35°C are shaded progressively.

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Fig. 4. Time evolution of standardized SST anomalies in the EEIO (90–110°E, 10°S–Eq) for: (a) aborted, (b) strong and (c) weak IOZM years. The monthly s.t.d. of SST is 0.3°C. The mean evolution obtained by averaging all the events in the individual category is also shown.

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Fig. 5. Monthly evolution of (a) Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) in units of standard deviation and (b) anomalous thermocline depth (m) averaged in the equatorial western Pacific (5°S–5°N, 120–160°E) during all strong IOZM years.

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Fig. 6. Monthly evolution of depth (in m) versus temperature off South Java for weak IOZM events. The depth of the thermocline indicated the 20°C isotherm is shown in pink and values greater than 20°C are shown in color.

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Fig. 7. Annual cycle of (a) SST, (b) OLR, (c) thermocline depth (Z20), (d) barrier layer thickness (BLT), averaged over the EEIO (90–110°E, 10°S,Eq) and (e) Indonesian Througflow (ITF).

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Fig. 8. Boreal Spring (MAM) composites of anomalous surface winds (m/s) and thermocline depth (m, shown in colour) for: (a) weak and (b) strong IOZM years. Values significant at 95% level are only shown. The reference wind vector (m/s) is also shown.

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Fig. 9. Strong and weak IOZO years composite evolution of anomalous (a) barrier layer thickness (m) and (b) precipitation (mm/day) averaged over the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean (90–110°E, 10°S–Eq).

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Fig. 10. (a) Boreal spring precipitation climatology and values greater than 8 mm/day are only shown. The region representing the Indian Ocean ITCZ (90–120°E, 10°S–Eq) is shown as rectangular box, (b) simultaneous correlation between March–April ITCZ index and SSTA for the period 1979–2000. Correlations significant at 95% level are only shown.

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Fig. 11. Simultaneous correlation between Indian Ocean ITCZ, precipitation averaged over (10°S–Eq, 90°E–120#) with SSTA for the fall (September–November) season, estimated for the period 1979–2000. Correlations greater than 0.6 are shown. Positive values are shaded progressively and negative values are shown in contours.

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Fig. 12. (a) Spring (MAM) composites of anomalous precipitation for strong IOZM years. The negative values in (a) are shaded progressively with an interval of 0.5 mm/day, while positive values are shown in contours with an interval of 1 mm/day. The precipitation index averaged over (90–120°E, 10°S–Eq) and for MAM, representing the Indian Ocean ITCZ, is regressed onto the surface winds and the statistically significant winds are shown in the top panel. The reference wind vector (m/s) is shown at the right bottom. (b) MAM composite of anomalous divergent east–west mass circulation constructed from the zonal component of the divergent wind and vertical velocity at each pressure level. The reference vector indicates the mass flux in kg/m2 s The methodology is explained in detail in Trenberth et al. (2000).

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Fig. 13. Strong IOZM years composite evolution of anomalous zonal and meridional advection, net heat flux and entainment for the ocean model mixed layer off south Java (95–105°E, 10–5°S), where IOZM is initiated. The sum of these terms is representative of rate of change of mixed layer temperature (dT/dt) and is also shown. During spring and early summer, entrainment and zonal advection contribute to cooling; Qnet (primarily latent heat) also contributes to the cooling.

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Fig. 14. Spring (MAM) ensemble mean precipitation and 1000 hPa wind anomalies from the AGCM simulation forced by SSTA over the equatorial western-central Pacific (10°S–10°N, 150°E–150°W). The negative precipitation values are shaded progressively with an interval of 0.5 mm/day while positive values are shown in contours with an interval of 1 mm/day. The reference wind vector (m/s) is shown at the right bottom.

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Fig. 15. Correlations between (a) ITF and Z20 and (b) ITF and SST. Values >0.2 are significant at 95% level.

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Fig. 16. April–May composites of anomalous precipitation and surface winds for strong IOZM years. Positive precipitation anomalies are shaded progressively with an interval of 0.5 mm day while negative precipitation anomalies are shown as contours with an interval 0.5 mm/day. The reference wind vector (m/s) is also shown.

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Fig. 17. Bi-monthly composite time series of anomalous ITF transport during strong IOZM years.

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Fig. 18. July–August composites of (a) precipitation and surface winds. Negative (positive) values of precipitation are shaded (contour). The contour interval is 1 mm/day while the shading interval is 2 mm/day; (b) divergent winds and (c) rotational part of the winds at 1000 hPa. Reference vector is shown in all the panels.

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Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume 50, Issues 12-13 , July 2003 , Pages 2305-2330
Physical Oceanography of the Indian Ocean: from WOCE to CLIVAR


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