Large-Scale Fresh and Salt Water Exchanges In the Indian Ocean

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Ocean Science and Engineering


Upper‐ocean dynamics in the Northern Indian Ocean (NIO) depend on changes in the magnitude and location of the high salinity waters of the Arabian Sea and low salinity waters of the Bay of Bengal. The large sea surface salinity (SSS) differences between these two basins are related to the surface freshwater flux (evaporation minus precipitation), which is positive (negative) in the Arabian Sea (Bay of Bengal). To quantify large‐scale salinity changes on decadal time scale over the whole water column and to study trends in salinity and volume transport, we have analyzed Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) reanalysis product, HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) simulations, European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasting's ERA‐Interim reanalysis product, and riverine streamflow data from the National Centers for Atmospheric Research's Global River Flow and Continental Discharge Dataset for the NIO. We find increased freshening conditions in the Bay of Bengal and salinification conditions in the Arabian Sea that would support a stronger zonal SSS difference in the NIO but that it is partially compensated by positive (negative) salt transports into the Bay of Bengal (BoB) (Arabian Sea). Empirical orthogonal function analysis of SODA SSS indicates that the main factors of SSS variability are Indian Ocean Dipole and El Niño‐Southern Oscillation and seasonal currents. The trends in the volume transport reveal decadal changes in zonal equatorial currents in HYCOM and Somali Current in SODA.

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JGR Oceans





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