Correlation between subsurface salinity anomalies in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean Dipole and governing mechanisms

Zhang, Zheen; Pohlmann, Thomas; Chen, Xueen

Lead–lag correlations between the subsurface temperature and salinity anomalies in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are revealed in model results, ocean synthesis, and observations. Mechanisms for such correlations are further investigated using the Hamburg Shelf Ocean Model (HAMSOM), mainly relating to the salinity variability. It is found that the subsurface salinity anomaly of the BoB positively correlates to the IOD, with a lag of 3 months on average, while the subsurface temperature anomaly correlates negatively. The model results suggest the remote forcing from the equatorial Indian Ocean dominates the interannual subsurface salinity variability in the BoB. The coastal Kelvin waves carry signals of positive (negative) salinity anomalies from the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean and propagate counterclockwise along the coasts of the BoB during positive (negative) IOD events. Subsequently, westward Rossby waves propagate these signals to the basin at a relatively slow speed, which causes a considerable delay of the subsurface salinity anomalies in the correlation. By analyzing the salinity budget of the BoB, it is found that diffusion dominates the salinity changes near the surface, while advection dominates the subsurface; the vertical advection of salinity contributes positively to this correlation, while the horizontal advection contributes negatively. These results suggest that the IOD plays a crucial role in the interannual subsurface salinity variability in the BoB.

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Zhang, Zheen / Pohlmann, Thomas / Chen, Xueen: Correlation between subsurface salinity anomalies in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean Dipole and governing mechanisms. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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