• D Sengupta

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Intraseasonal oscillations and interannual variability of surface winds over the Indian monsoon region

      B N Goswami D Sengupta G Suresh Kumar

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      The role of intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) in modulating synoptic and interannual variations of surface winds over the Indian monsoon region is studied using daily averaged National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalyses for the period 1987–1996. Two dominant ISOs are found in all years, with a period between 30–60 days and 10–20 days respectively. Although the ISOs themselves explain only about 10–25% of the daily variance, the spatial structure of variance of the ISOs is found to be nearly identical to that of high frequency activity (synoptic disturbances), indicating a significant control by the ISOs in determining the synoptic variations. Zonal and meridional propagation characteristics of the two modes and their interannual variability are studied in detail.

      The synoptic structure of the 30–60 day mode is similar in all years and is shown to be intimately related to the strong (‘active’) or weak (‘break’) phases of the Indian summer monsoon circulation. The peak (trough) phase of the mode in the north Bay of Bengal corresponds to the ‘active’ (‘break’) phase of monsoon strengthening (weakening) the entire large scale monsoon circulation. The ISOs modulate synoptic activity through the intensification or weakening of the large scale monsoon flow (monsoon trough). The peak wind anomalies associated with these ISOs could be as large as 30% of the seasonal mean winds in many regions. The vorticity pattern associated with the 30–60 day mode has a bi-modal meridional structure similar to the one associated with the seasonal mean winds but with a smaller meridional scale. The spatial structure of the 30–60 day mode is consistent with fluctuations of the tropical convergence zone (TCZ) between one continental and an equatorial Indian Ocean position. The 10–20 day mode has maximum amplitude in the north Bay of Bengal, where it is comparable to that of the 30–60 day mode. Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, this mode is almost always weaker than the 30–60 day mode. In the Bay of Bengal region, the wind curl anomalies associated with the peak phases of the ISOs could be as large as 50% of the seasonal mean wind curl. Hence, ISOs in this region could drive significant ISOs in the ocean and might influence the seasonal mean currents in the Bay.

      On the interannual time scale, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysed wind stress is compared with the Florida State University monthly mean stress. The seasonal mean stress as well as interannual standard deviation of monthly stress from the two analyses agree well, indicating absence of any serious systematic bias in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysed winds. It is also found that the composite structure of the 30–60 day mode is strikingly similar to the dominant mode of interannual variability of the seasonal mean winds indicating a strong link between the ISOs and the seasonal mean. The ISO influences the seasonal mean and its interannual variability either through increased/decreased residence time of the TCZ in the continental position or through occurrence of stronger/weaker active/break spells. Thus, the ISOs seem to modulate all variability in this region from synoptic to interannual scales.

    • Elastic thickness estimates at north east passive margin of North America and its implications

      R T Ratheesh Kumar Tanmay K Maji Suresh Ch Kandpal D Sengupta Rajesh R Nair

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      Global estimates of the elastic thickness (Te) of the structure of passive continental margins show wide and varying results owing to the use of different methodologies. Earlier estimates of the elastic thickness of the North Atlantic passive continental margins that used flexural modelling yielded a Te value of ∼20–100 km. Here, we compare these estimates with the Te value obtained using orthonormalized Hermite multitaper recovered isostatic coherence functions. We discuss how Te is correlated with heat flow distribution and depth of necking. The E–W segment in the southern study region comprising Nova Scotia and the Southern Grand Banks show low Te values, while the zones comprising the NE–SW zones, viz., Western Greenland, Labrador, Orphan Basin and the Northern Grand Bank show comparatively high Te values. As expected, Te broadly reflects the depth of the 200$–$400°C isotherm below the weak surface sediment layer at the time of loading, and at the margins most of the loading occurred during rifting. We infer that these low Te measurements indicate Te frozen into the lithosphere. This could be due to the passive nature of the margin when the loads were emplaced during the continental break-up process at high temperature gradients.

    • Subsurface signatures and timing of extreme wave events along the southeast Indian coast

      Rajesh R Nair Madhav K Murari C S Vijaya Lakshmi Ilya Buynevich Ron J Goble P Srinivasan S G N Murthy Deshraj Trivedi Suresh Chandra Kandpal S M Hussain D Sengupta Ashok K Singhvi

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      Written history’s limitation becomes apparent when attempting to document the predecessors of extreme coastal events in the Indian Ocean, from 550–700 years in Thailand and 1000 years in Indonesia. Detailed ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys in Mahabalipuram, southeast India, complemented with sedimentological analyses, magnetic susceptibility measurements, and optical dating provide strong evidence of extreme wave events during the past 3700 years. The diagnostic event signatures include the extent and elevation of the deposits, as well as morphologic similarity of buried erosional scarps to those reported in northern Sumatra region. Optical ages immediately overlying the imaged discontinuities that coincides with high concentration of heavy minerals date the erosional events to 340 ± 35, 350 ± 20, 490 ± 30, 880 ± 40, 1080 ± 60, 1175 ± 188, 2193 ± 266, 2235 ± 881, 2489 ± 293, 2450 ± 130, 2585 ± 609, 3710 ± 200 years ago. These evidences are crucial in reconstructing paleo extreme wave events and will pave the way for regional correlation of erosional horizons along the northern margin of Indian Ocean.

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