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Salinity dominance on the Indian Ocean Eastern Gyral current


Menezes, VV and Phillips, HE and Schiller, A and Domingues, CM and Bindoff, NL, Salinity dominance on the Indian Ocean Eastern Gyral current, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, (21) pp. 5716-5721. ISSN 0094-8276 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2013GL057887


This study demonstrates the importance of salinity gradients to the formation of the Eastern Gyral Current (EGC) in the South Indian Ocean. The EGC flows eastward near 15ıS, opposite to the direction predicted by classical theories of wind-driven circulation and is a source of water for the Leeuwin Current. In the upper ocean, a strong salinity front exists between fresh water from the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) in the South Equatorial Current (SEC) and salty subtropical waters. In that region, salinity overwhelms the temperature contribution to density gradients, generating eastward geostrophic shear and establishing the EGC. Without the salinity front the EGC cannot be maintained: If the salinity contribution is neglected in the calculation of geostrophic currents, the EGC vanishes. Our observational analysis associated with the fact that both Sverdrup and Ekman theories produce westward flows in the region strongly supports the idea that the EGC is a salinity-driven current.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Eastern Gyral Current, Indian Ocean, Salinity, Subtropical Water, Indonesian Throughflow Water
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:Menezes, VV (Ms Viviane Menezes)
UTAS Author:Phillips, HE (Associate Professor Helen Phillips)
UTAS Author:Domingues, CM (Dr Catia Domingues)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
ID Code:87723
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2013-12-04
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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