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Warming of the upper equatorial Indian Ocean and changes in the heat budget (1960–99)


Alory, G and Meyers, GA, Warming of the upper equatorial Indian Ocean and changes in the heat budget (1960-99), Journal of Climate, 22, (1) pp. 93-113. ISSN 0894-8755 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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© 2009 American Meteorological Society

DOI: doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2330.1


In the equatorial Indian Ocean, sea surface has warmed by 0.5°–1°C over the 1960–99 period, while waters have cooled at thermocline depth and the net atmospheric heat flux has decreased. Among a set of twentieth-century climate simulations from 12 coupled models, the Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques Coupled Global Climate Model version 3 (CNRM-CM3) reproduces key observed features of these changes. It is used to investigate changes in the heat budget of the upper equatorial Indian Ocean and identify mechanisms responsible for the warming. By comparing twentieth-century and control simulations, significant shifts in the mean balance of the heat budget between the preindustrial and the 1960–99 periods can be identified. The main cause of the surface warming is a decrease in the upwellingrelated oceanic cooling. It occurs in the thermocline dome region because of a slowdown of the wind-driven Ekman pumping. The observed decrease in net heat flux is a negative feedback driven by evaporation, which is enhanced by the equatorial warming and associated strengthening of trade winds.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Coupled Global Climate Model, Indian Ocean, sea surface temperature
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Meyers, GA (Professor Gary Meyers)
ID Code:62094
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:55
Deposited By:Centre for Marine Science
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2013-09-09

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