Mesoscale eddies, coastal upwelling, and the upper-ocean heat budget in the Arabian Sea Academic Article uri icon


  • Estimation of the terms in the upper-ocean heat budget from a moored array in the central Arabian Sea shows periods when a rough balance between the temperature trend and the horizontal advection of heat exists. Altimetry and sea-surface temperature imagery are used to demonstrate that these episodes of strong horizontal advection are associated with mesoscale features. During the wintertime Northeast (NE) Monsoon these are capped-off mesoscale eddy features generated during the previous summertime Southwest (SW) Monsoon and have little horizontal transport of heat within the mixed layer. During the SW Monsoon the major contribution is strong offshore export of coastally upwelled water in a filament with a strong surface presence. Temperature and salinity properties from the moored array and a SeaSoar survey during the formation of the coastal filament confirm the offshore transport of the upwelled water mass to the site of the moored array, more than 600 km offshore. Estimates of the filament section heat flux are several percent of the total estimated heat flux due to upwelling along the Arabian Peninsula, and remote sensing data show that similar mesoscale variability along the coast is enhanced during the SW Monsoon. This points to the importance of mesoseale-modulated transports in not only the observed heat budget at the moored array, but in the overall upperocean heat budget in the Arabian Sea. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 2002