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Role of thermocline-SST coupling in the evolution of IOD events and their regional impacts

Deshpande, A and Chowdary, JS and Gnanaseelan, C (2013) Role of thermocline-SST coupling in the evolution of IOD events and their regional impacts. Climate Dynamics. pp. 1-12.

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The evolution of sea surface temperature (SST) and thermocline (represented by 20 °C isotherm depth, D20) in the east equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) associated with the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) years is studied for the period of 50 years from 1958 to 2007. A new IOD index based on combined anomalies of surface winds, D20 and SST over the equatorial Indian Ocean is defined to identify strong and weak IOD events. It is found that the evolution of strong IOD events is driven by ocean dynamics in the form of thermocline-SST coupling and is strongly interactive with the atmosphere, whereas the weak IOD events are mere response to surface winds without such dynamical coupling. The easterly wind anomalies extend up to the western equatorial Indian Ocean (WIO) during strong IOD years and support enhanced EIO air-sea interactions. On the other hand, the evolution of zonal wind anomalies is weak during the weak IOD years. Thermocline-SST coupling is robust in both EIO and WIO during strong IOD years, which is primarily responsible for the enhanced SST gradient, strong enough to establish anomalous Walker circulation within the Indian Ocean. The strong convection over the WIO associated with the Indian Ocean Walker cell triggers a secondary cell with subsidence over the African landmass. This double cell structure over the equatorial Indian Ocean is not reported before. Such double cell structure is not evident in weak IOD years and instead the convection over WIO extends up to African landmass. These are well supported by the spatial pattern of anomalous precipitable water during strong and weak IOD years. Strengthening of monsoon flow and local Hadley cell associated with strong IOD events enhances precipitation over the Indian subcontinent, whereas weak IOD years have less impact on the Indian summer monsoon circulation and rainfall. Analysis reveals that the EIO thermocline index and combined index could be potential predictors for the central Indian rainfall during summer.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology
Depositing User: IITM Library
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 05:58
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2014 05:58

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