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Signatures of Indian ocean Dipole and El Nino-Southern Oscillation events in sea level variations in the Bay of Bengal

Aparna, SG and McCreary, JP and Shankar, D and Vinayachandran, PN (2012) Signatures of Indian ocean Dipole and El Nino-Southern Oscillation events in sea level variations in the Bay of Bengal. In: Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (C10). pp. 1-13.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012JC008055


We investigate the impact of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Nino and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on sea level variations in the North Indian Ocean during 1957-2008. Using tide-gauge and altimeter data, we show that IOD and ENSO leave characteristic signatures in the sea level anomalies (SLAs) in the Bay of Bengal. During a positive IOD event, negative SLAs are observed during April-December, with the SLAs decreasing continuously to a peak during September-November. During El Nino, negative SLAs are observed twice (April-December and November-July), with a relaxation between the two peaks. SLA signatures during negative IOD and La Nina events are much weaker. We use a linear, continuously stratified model of the Indian Ocean to simulate their sea level patterns of IOD and ENSO events. We then separate solutions into parts that correspond to specific processes: coastal alongshore winds, remote forcing from the equator via reflected Rossby waves, and direct forcing by interior winds within the bay. During pure IOD events, the SLAs are forced both from the equator and by direct wind forcing. During ENSO events, they are primarily equatorially forced, with only a minor contribution from direct wind forcing. Using a lead/lag covariance analysis between the Nino-3.4 SST index and Indian Ocean wind stress, we derive a composite wind field for a typical El Nino event: the resulting solution has two negative SLA peaks. The IOD and ENSO signatures are not evident off the west coast of India.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union.
Keywords: El Niño; Indian Ocean Dipole; Sea-Level Variability
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2013 05:37
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 05:37
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/45376

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