Distinct influence of air–sea interactions mediated by mesoscale sea surface temperature and surface current in the Arabian Sea

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Seo, Hyodae
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Indian Ocean
Wind stress
Ekman pumping
Air-sea interaction
Coupled models
During the southwest monsoons, the Arabian Sea (AS) develops highly energetic mesoscale variability associated with the Somali Current (SC), Great Whirl (GW), and cold filaments (CF). The resultant high-amplitude anomalies and gradients of sea surface temperature (SST) and surface currents modify the wind stress, triggering the so-called mesoscale coupled feedbacks. This study uses a high-resolution regional coupled model with a novel coupling procedure that separates spatial scales of the air–sea coupling to show that SST and surface currents are coupled to the atmosphere at distinct spatial scales, exerting distinct dynamic influences. The effect of mesoscale SST–wind interaction is manifested most strongly in wind work and Ekman pumping over the GW, primarily affecting the position of GW and the separation latitude of the SC. If this effect is suppressed, enhanced wind work and a weakened Ekman pumping dipole cause the GW to extend northeastward, delaying the SC separation by 1°. Current–wind interaction, in contrast, is related to the amount of wind energy input. When it is suppressed, especially as a result of background-scale currents, depth-integrated kinetic energy, both the mean and eddy, is significantly enhanced. Ekman pumping velocity over the GW is overly negative because of a lack of vorticity that offsets the wind stress curl, further invigorating the GW. Moreover, significant changes in time-mean SST and evaporation are generated in response to the current–wind interaction, accompanied by a noticeable southward shift in the Findlater Jet. The significant increase in moisture transport in the central AS implies that air–sea interaction mediated by the surface current is a potentially important process for simulation and prediction of the monsoon rainfall.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 30 (2017): 8061-8080, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0834.1.
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Journal of Climate 30 (2017): 8061-8080
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