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Interannual to decadal variability of upper-ocean salinity in the southern Indian Ocean and the role of the Indonesian Throughflow

TitleInterannual to decadal variability of upper-ocean salinity in the southern Indian Ocean and the role of the Indonesian Throughflow
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHu S.J, Zhang Y., Feng M, Du Y., Sprintall J, Wang F., Hu D.X, Xie Q., Chai F.
Date Published2019/10
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0894-8755
Accession NumberWOS:000484615400001
Keywordsadvection; Aquarius; Atmosphere-ocean interaction; barrier-layer thickness; budget; circulation; dipole; enso; impact; Indian Ocean; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; mixed-layer; ocean; pacific; scale; sea-surface salinity; soil-moisture; thermocline

Variability of oceanic salinity, an indicator of the global hydrological cycle, plays an important role in the basin-scale ocean circulation. In this study, interannual to decadal variability of salinity in the upper layer of the Indian Ocean is investigated using Argo observations since 2004 and data assimilating model outputs (1992-2015). The southeastern Indian Ocean shows the strongest interannual to decadal variability of upper-ocean salinity in the Indian Ocean. Westward propagation of salinity anomalies along isopycnal surfaces is detected in the southern Indian Ocean and attributed to zonal salinity advection anomalies associated with the Indonesian Throughflow and the South Equatorial Current. Composite and salinity budget analyses show that horizontal advection is a major contributor to the interannual to decadal salinity variability of the southern Indian Ocean, and the local air-sea freshwater flux plays a secondary role. The Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) modulate the salinity variability in the southeastern Indian Ocean, with low salinity anomalies occurring during the negative phases of the PDO and ENSO and high salinity anomalies during their positive phases. The Indonesian Throughflow plays an essential role in transmitting the PDO- and ENSO-related salinity signals into the Indian Ocean. A statistical model is proposed based on the PDO index, which successfully predicts the southeastern Indian Ocean salinity variability with a lead time of 10 months.

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