Evidence of Organized Intraseasonal Convection Linked To Ocean Dynamics In the Seychelles-Chagos Thermocline Ridge

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Marine Science


Ocean Science and Engineering


The Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) is the dominant driver of intraseasonal variability across the equatorial domain of the global ocean with alternating wet and dry bands that propagate eastward primarily between 5°N and 5°S. Past research has shown that MJOs impact the surface and subsurface variability of the Seychelles-Chagos thermocline ridge (SCTR) (55°E-65°E, 5°S-12°S) located in the southwest tropical Indian Ocean (SWTIO), but investigations of how SWTIO internal dynamics may play an important role in producing MJO events remain limited. This study uses Argo, in conjunction with several remote sensing and reanalysis products, to demonstrate that SWTIO oceanic dynamics, particularly barrier layer formation and near surface heat buildup, may be associated with MJO genesis between August and December of most years between 2005 and 2013. A total of eight SWTIO specific MJO events are observed, all occurring between August and December. Four of the eight events are correlated with positive SWTIO total heat content (THC) and barrier layer thickness (BLT) interannual anomalies. Two others formed over the SWTIO during times when only one of the variables was at or above their seasonal average, while two additional events occurred when both variables experienced negative interannual anomalies. Lacking complete 1:1 correlation between the hypothesized oceanic state and the identified SWTIO MJO events, we conclude that additional work is required to better understand when variability in key oceanic variables plays a primary role in regional MJO genesis or when other factors, such as atmospheric variability, are the dominate drivers.

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Climate Dynamics





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