TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 65 (No. 6), pp. 803-816, 2009

Different Spreading of Somali and Arabian Coastal Upwelled Waters in the Northern Indian Ocean: A Case Study

Vinu Valsala*

Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan

(Received 15 January 2009; in revised form 19 July 2009; accepted 19 July 2009)

Abstract: The spreading pathways of the Somali and Arabian coastal upwelled waters in the northern Indian Ocean are identified from an ocean re-analysis data set of a single year using numerical passive tracers in a transport model. The Somali and Arabian coastal upwelled waters are found to have entirely different spreading pathways in the northern Indian ocean. The former circulates anticyclonically, is mixed vertically, and is advected to the eastern Indian Ocean along the north equatorial region; while the later intrudes into the northern Arabian Sea, circulates anticyclonically and is advected to the south in the central Arabian Sea and then to the eastern Indian Ocean. The seasonal surface mixing by strong monsoon winds and sheared currents due to dominant eddies of the Somali region are found responsible for mixing 25% of Somali upwelled water with the subsurface and affecting the resultant pathways. The effect of mixing is, however, found negligible in the case of Arabian coastal upwelled water pathways. The seasonal reversal of circulation and eddy dominance during the southwest monsoon cause the Somali upwelled water to spread over the northern Indian Ocean faster than the simultaneously upwelled Arabian coastal water.

*Corresponding author E-mail: vinu.valsala@nies.go.jp

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