Lekha J. Sree

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J. Sree

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  • Article
    Moored observations of the surface meteorology and air-sea fluxes in the Northern Bay of Bengal in 2015
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-12-28) Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Seo, Hyodae ; Prend, Channing ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Lekha, J. Sree ; Ravichandran, M. ; Venkatesan, Ramasamy
    Time series of surface meteorology and air–sea fluxes from the northern Bay of Bengal are analyzed, quantifying annual and seasonal means, variability, and the potential for surface fluxes to contribute significantly to variability in surface temperature and salinity. Strong signals were associated with solar insolation and its modulation by cloud cover, and, in the 5- to 50-day range, with intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs). The northeast (NE) monsoon (DJF) was typically cloud free, with strong latent heat loss and several moderate wind events, and had the only seasonal mean ocean heat loss. The spring intermonsoon (MAM) was cloud free and had light winds and the strongest ocean heating. Strong ISOs and Tropical Cyclone Komen were seen in the southwest (SW) monsoon (JJA), when 65% of the 2.2-m total rain fell, and oceanic mean heating was small. The fall intermonsoon (SON) initially had moderate convective systems and mean ocean heating, with a transition to drier winds and mean ocean heat loss in the last month. Observed surface freshwater flux applied to a layer of the observed thickness produced drops in salinity with timing and magnitude similar to the initial drops in salinity in the summer monsoon, but did not reproduce the salinity variability of the fall intermonsoon. Observed surface heat flux has the potential to cause the temperature trends of the different seasons, but uncertainty in how shortwave radiation is absorbed in the upper ocean limits quantifying the role of surface forcing in the evolution of mixed layer temperature.
  • Article
    A tale of two spicy seas
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Mickett, John B. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Waterhouse, Amy F. ; Tandon, Amit ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Ravichandran, M. ; Pinkel, Robert ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; Whalen, Caitlin B. ; Alberty, Marion S. ; Lekha, J. Sree ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Chaudhuri, Dipayan ; Wagner, Gregory L.
    Upper-ocean turbulent heat fluxes in the Bay of Bengal and the Arctic Ocean drive regional monsoons and sea ice melt, respectively, important issues of societal interest. In both cases, accurate prediction of these heat transports depends on proper representation of the small-scale structure of vertical stratification, which in turn is created by a host of complex submesoscale processes. Though half a world apart and having dramatically different temperatures, there are surprising similarities between the two: both have (1) very fresh surface layers that are largely decoupled from the ocean below by a sharp halocline barrier, (2) evidence of interleaving lateral and vertical gradients that set upper-ocean stratification, and (3) vertical turbulent heat fluxes within the upper ocean that respond sensitively to these structures. However, there are clear differences in each ocean’s horizontal scales of variability, suggesting that despite similar background states, the sharpening and evolution of mesoscale gradients at convergence zones plays out quite differently. Here, we conduct a qualitative and statistical comparison of these two seas, with the goal of bringing to light fundamental underlying dynamics that will hopefully improve the accuracy of forecast models in both parts of the world.
  • Article
    Air-sea interaction in the Bay of Bengal
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Buckley, Jared ; Mathew, Simi ; Venkatesan, Ramasamy ; Lekha, J. Sree ; Chaudhuri, Dipanjan ; Kumar, N. Suresh ; Kumar, B. Praveen
    Recent observations of surface meteorology and exchanges of heat, freshwater, and momentum between the ocean and the atmosphere in the Bay of Bengal are presented. These observations characterize air-sea interaction at 18°N, 89.5°E from December 2014 to January 2016 and also at other locations in the northern Bay of Bengal. Monsoonal variability dominated the records, with winds to the northeast in summer and to the southwest in winter. This variability included a strong annual cycle in the atmospheric forcing of the ocean in the Bay of Bengal, with the winter monsoon marked by sustained ocean heat loss resulting in ocean cooling, and the summer monsoon marked by strong storm events with dark skies and rain that also resulted in ocean cooling. The spring intermonsoon was a period of clear skies and low winds, when strong solar heating and weak wind-driven mixing led to ocean warming. The fall intermonsoon was a transitional period, with some storm events but also with enough clear skies and sunlight that ocean surface temperature rose again. Mooring and shipboard observations are used to examine the ability of model-based surface fluxes to represent air-sea interaction in the Bay of Bengal; the model-based fluxes have significant errors. The surface forcing observed at 18°N is also used together with a one-dimensional ocean model to illustrate the potential for local air-sea interaction to drive upper-ocean variability in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Article
    Quasi-biweekly mode of the Asian summer monsoon revealed in Bay of Bengal surface observations
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-11-16) Lekha, J. Sree ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Sukhatme, Jai ; Joseph, Jossia K. ; Ravichandran, M. ; Kumar, N. Suresh ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Sengupta, Debasis
    Asian summer monsoon has a planetary‐scale, westward propagating “quasi‐biweekly” mode of variability with a 10–25 day period. Six years of moored observations at 18°N, 89.5°E in the north Bay of Bengal (BoB) reveal distinct quasi‐biweekly variability in sea surface salinity (SSS) during summer and autumn, with peak‐to‐peak amplitude of 3–8 psu. This large‐amplitude SSS variability is not due to variations of surface freshwater flux or river runoff. We show from the moored data, satellite SSS, and reanalyses that surface winds associated with the quasi‐biweekly monsoon mode and embedded weather‐scale systems, drive SSS and coastal sea level variability in 2015 summer monsoon. When winds are calm, geostrophic currents associated with mesoscale ocean eddies transport Ganga‐Brahmaputra‐Meghna river water southward to the mooring, salinity falls, and the ocean mixed layer shallows to 1–10 m. During active (cloudy, windy) spells of quasi‐biweekly monsoon mode, directly wind‐forced surface currents carry river water away to the east and north, leading to increased salinity at the moorings, and rise of sea level by 0.1–0.5 m along the eastern and northern boundary of the bay. During July–August 2015, a shallow pool of low‐salinity river water lies in the northeastern bay. The amplitude of a 20‐day oscillation of sea surface temperature (SST) is two times larger within the fresh pool than in the saltier ocean to the west, although surface heat flux is nearly identical in the two regions. This is direct evidence that spatial‐temporal variations of BoB salinity influences sub‐seasonal SST variations, and possibly SST‐mediated monsoon air‐sea interaction.