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Mechanisms of Barrier Layer Formation and Erosion from In Situ Observations in the Bay of Bengal

George, Jenson V and Vinayachandran, PN and Vijith, V and Thushara, V and Nayak, Anoop A and Pargaonkar, Shrikant M and Amol, P and Vijaykumar, K and Matthews, Adrian J (2019) Mechanisms of Barrier Layer Formation and Erosion from In Situ Observations in the Bay of Bengal. In: JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY, 49 (5). pp. 1183-1200.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-18-0204.1


During the Bay of Bengal (BoB) Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE) in the southern BoB, time series of microstructure measurements were obtained at 8 degrees N, 89 degrees E from 4 to 14 July 2016. These observations captured events of barrier layer (BL) erosion and reformation. Initially, a three-layer structure was observed: a fresh surface mixed layer (ML) of thickness 10-20 m; a BL below of 30-40-m thickness with similar temperature but higher salinity; and a high salinity core layer, associated with the Summer Monsoon Current. Each of these three layers was in relative motion to the others, leading to regions of high shear at the interfaces. However, the destabilizing influence of the shear regions was not enough to overcome the haline stratification, and the three-layer structure was preserved. A salinity budget using in situ observations suggested that during the BL erosion, differential advection brought high salinity surface waters (34.5 psu) with weak stratification to the time series location and replaced the three-layer structure with a deep ML (similar to 60 m). The resulting weakened stratification at the time series location then allowed atmospheric wind forcing to penetrate deeper. The turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate and eddy diffusivity showed elevated values above 10(-7) W kg(-1) and 10(-4) m(2) s(-1), respectively, in the upper 60 m. Later, the surface salinity decreased again (33.8 psu) through differential horizontal advection, stratification became stronger and elevated mixing rates were confined to the upper 20 m, and the BL reformed. A 1D model experiment suggested that in the study region, differential advection of temperature-salinity characteristics is essential for the maintenance of BL and to the extent to which mixing penetrates the water column.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC.
Keywords: Ocean; Indian Ocean; Atmosphere-ocean interaction; Mixing; Diapycnal mixing; Mixed layer
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Depositing User: LIS Interns
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 11:50
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 11:50
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/62691

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