• D Shankar

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Hydrography of the eastern Arabian Sea during summer monsoon 2002

      D Shankar S S C Shenoi R K Nayak P N Vinayachandran G Nampoothiri A M Almeida G S Michael M R Ramesh Kumar D Sundar O P Sreejith

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      Hydrographic observations in the eastern Arabian Sea (EAS) during summer monsoon 2002 (during the first phase of the Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiment (ARMEX)) include two approximately fortnight-long CTD time series. A barrier layer was observed occasionally during the two time series. These ephemeral barrier layers were caused byin situ rainfall, and by advection of low-salinity (high-salinity) waters at the surface (below the surface mixed layer). These barrier layers were advected away from the source region by the West India Coastal Current and had no discernible effect on the sea surface temperature. The three high-salinity water masses, the Arabian Sea High Salinity Water (ASHSW), Persian Gulf Water (PGW), and Red Sea Water (RSW), and the Arabian Sea Salinity Minimum also exhibited intermittency: they appeared and disappeared during the time series. The concentration of the ASHSW, PGW, and RSW decreased equatorward, and that of the RSW also decreased offshore. The observations suggest that the RSW is advected equatorward along the continental slope off the Indian west coast.

    • Hydrography and water masses in the southeastern Arabian Sea during March–June 2003

      S S C Shenoi D Shankar G S Michael J Kurian K K Varma M R Ramesh Kumar A M Almeida A S Unnikrishnan W Fernandes N Barreto C Gnanaseelan R Mathew K V Praju V Mahale

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      This paper describes the hydrographic observations in the southeastern Arabian Sea (SEAS) during two cruises carried out in March–June 2003 as part of the Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiment. The surface hydrography during March–April was dominated by the intrusion of low-salinity waters from the south; during May–June, the low-salinity waters were beginning to be replaced by the highsalinity waters from the north. There was considerable mixing at the bottom of the surface mixed layer, leading to interleaving of low-salinity and high-salinity layers. The flow paths constructed following the spatial patterns of salinity along the sections mimic those inferred from numerical models. Time-series measurements showed the presence of Persian Gulf and Red Sea Waters in the SEAS to be intermittent during both cruises: they appeared and disappeared during both the fortnight-long time series.

    • Vertical propagation of baroclinic Kelvin waves along the west coast of India

      D Nethery D Shankar

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      A linear, continuously stratified ocean model is used to investigate vertical propagation of remotely forced, baroclinic Kelvin waves along the Indian west coast. The extent of vertical propagation over the length of the coast is found to be an increasing function of the forcing frequency. Simulations show that, over the length of the Indian west coast, vertical propagation is limited at annual and semi-annual periods, but significant at periods shorter than about 120 days. This has two major consequences. First, the depth of subsurface currents associated with these frequencies varies substantially along the coast. Second, baroclinic Kelvin waves generated in the Bay of Bengal at periods shorter than about 120 days have negligible influence on surface currents along the north Indian west coast.

    • Link between convection and meridional gradient of sea surface temperature in the Bay of Bengal

      D Shankar S R Shetye P V Joseph

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      We use daily satellite estimates of sea surface temperature (SST)and rainfall during 1998 –2005 to show that onset of convection over the central Bay of Bengal (88-92°E, 14-18°N)during the core summer monsoon (mid-May to September)is linked to the meridional gradient of SST in the bay.The SST gradient was computed between two boxes in the northern (88-92°E, 18-22°N) and southern (82-88°E, 4-8°N) bay; the latter is the area of the cold tongue in the bay linked to the Summer Monsoon Current.Convection over central bay followed the SST difference between the northern and southern bay (𝛥 𝑇) exceeding 0.75°C in 28 cases.There was no instance of 𝛥 𝑇 exceeding this threshold without a burst in convection.There were,however,five instances of convection occurring without this SST gradient.Long rainfall events (events lasting more than a week)were associated with an SST event (𝛥 𝑇 ≥ 0.75°C);rainfall events tended to be short when not associated with an SST event.The SST gradient was important for the onset of convection, but not for its persistence:convection often persisted for several days even after the SST gradient weakened.The lag between 𝛥 𝑇 exceeding 0.75°C and the onset of convection was 0-18 days,but the lag histogram peaked at one week.In 75% of the 28 cases,convection occurred within a week of 𝛥 𝑇 exceeding the threshold of 0.75°C. The northern bay SST, T_N contributed more to 𝛥 𝑇 but it was a weaker criterion for convection than the SST gradient.A sensitivity analysis showed that the corresponding threshold for T_N was 29°C. We hypothesise that the excess heating (∼1° C above the threshold for deep convection)required in the northern bay to trigger convection is because this excess in SST is what is required to establish the critical SST gradient.

    • A new atlas of temperature and salinity for the North Indian Ocean

      A Chatterjee D Shankar S S C Shenoi G V Reddy G S Michael M Ravichandran V V Gopalkrishna E P Rama Rao T V S Udaya Bhaskar V N Sanjeevan

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      The most used temperature and salinity climatology for the world ocean, including the Indian Ocean, is the World Ocean Atlas (WOA) (Antonov et al 2006, 2010; Locarnini et al 2006, 2010) because of the vast amount of data used in its preparation. The WOA climatology does not, however, include all the available hydrographic data from the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), leading to the potential for improvement if the data from this region are included to prepare a new climatology. We use all the data that went into the preparation of the WOA (Antonov et al 2010; Locarnini et al 2010), but add considerable data from Indian sources, to prepare new annual, seasonal, and monthly climatologies of temperature and salinity for the Indian Ocean. The addition of data improves the climatology considerably in the Indian EEZ, the differences between the new North Indian Ocean Atlas (NIOA) and WOA being most significant in the Bay of Bengal, where the patchiness seen in WOA, an artifact of the sparsity of data, was eliminated in NIOA. The significance of the new climatology is that it presents a more stable climatological value for the temperature and salinity fields in the Indian EEZ.

    • Tidal variations in the Sundarbans Estuarine System, India

      Meenakshi Chatterjee D Shankar G K Sen P Sanyal D Sundar G S Michael Abhisek Chatterjee P Amol Debabrata Mukherjee K Suprit A Mukherjee V Vijith Siddhartha Chatterjee Anwesha Basu Madhumita Das Saranya Chakraborti Aravind Kalla Surja Kanta Misra Soumya Mukhopadhyay Gopal Mandal Kankan Sarkar

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      Situated in the eastern coastal state of West Bengal, the Sundarbans Estuarine System (SES) is India’s largest monsoonal, macro-tidal delta-front estuarine system. It comprises the southernmost part of the Indian portion of the Ganga–Brahmaputra delta bordering the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans Estuarine Programme (SEP), conducted during 18–21 March 2011 (the Equinoctial Spring Phase), was the first comprehensive observational programme undertaken for the systematic monitoring of the tides within the SES. The 30 observation stations, spread over more than 3600 km2, covered the seven inner estuaries of the SES (the Saptamukhi, Thakuran, Matla, Bidya, Gomdi, Harinbhanga, and Raimangal) and represented a wide range of estuarine and environmental conditions. At all stations, tidal water levels (every 15 minutes), salinity, water and air temperatures (hourly) were measured over the six tidal cycles. We report the observed spatio-temporal variations of the tidal water level. The predominantly semi-diurnal tides were observed to amplify northwards along each estuary, with the highest amplification observed at Canning, situated about 98 km north of the seaface on the Matla. The first definite sign of decay of the tide was observed only at Sahebkhali on the Raimangal, 108 km north of the seaface. The degree and rates of amplification of the tide over the various estuarine stretches were not uniform and followed a complex pattern. A least-squares harmonic analysis of the data performed with eight constituent bands showed that the amplitude of the semi-diurnal band was an order of magnitude higher than that of the other bands and it doubled from mouth to head. The diurnal band showed no such amplification, but the amplitude of the 6-hourly and 4-hourly bands increased headward by a factor of over 4. Tide curves for several stations displayed a tendency for the formation of double peaks at both high water (HW) and low water (LW). One reason for these double-peaks was the HW/LW stands of the tide observed at these stations. During a stand, the water level changes imperceptibly around high tide and low tide. The existence of a stand at most locations is a key new finding of the SEP. We present an objective criterion for identifying if a stand occurs at a station and show that the water level changed imperceptibly over durations ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours during the tidal stands in the SES. The tidal duration asymmetry observed at all stations was modified by the stand. Flow-dominant asymmetry was observed at most locations, with ebb-dominant asymmetry being observed at a few locations over some tidal cycles. The tidal asymmetry and stand have implications for human activity in the Sundarbans. The longer persistence of the high water level around high tide implies that a storm surge is more likely to coincide with the high tide, leading to a greater chance of destruction. Since the stands are associated with an amplification of the 4-hourly and 6-hourly constituents, storm surges that have a similar period are also likely to amplify more during their passage through the SES.

    • Observed intraseasonal and seasonal variability of the West India Coastal Current on the continental slope

      P Amol D Shankar V Fernando A Mukherjee S G Aparna R Fernandes G S Michael S T Khalap N P Satelkar Y Agarvadekar M G Gaonkar A P Tari A Kankonkar S P Vernekar

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      We present current data from acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) moored on the continental slope off the west coast of India. The data were collected at four locations (roughly at Kanyakumari, Kollam, Goa, and Mumbai) extending from ∼7° to ∼20° N during 2008–2012. The observations show that a seasonal cycle, including an annual cycle, is present in the West India Coastal Current (WICC); this seasonal cycle, which strengthens northward, shows considerable interannual variability and is not as strongly correlated along the coast as in climatologies based on ship drifts or the altimeter. The alongshore decorrelation of theWICC is much stronger at intraseasonal periods, which are evident during the winter monsoon all along the coast. This intraseasonal variability is stronger in the south. A striking feature of the WICC is upward phase propagation, which implies an undercurrent whose depth becomes shallower as the season progresses. There are also instances when the phase propagates downward. At the two southern mooring locations off Kollam and Kanyakumari, the cross-shore current, which is usually associated with eddy-like circulations, is comparable to the alongshore current on occasions. A comparison with data from the OSCAR (Ocean Surface Currents Analyses Real-time) data product shows not only similarities, but also significant differences, particularly in the phase. One possible reason for this phase mismatch between the ADCP current at 48 m and the OSCAR current, which represents the current in the 0–30 m depth range, is the vertical phase propagation. Current products based on Ocean General Circulation Models like ECCO2 (Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II) and GODAS (Global Ocean Data Assimilation System) show a weaker correlation with the ADCP current, and ECCO2 does capture some of the observed variability.

    • Observed seasonal and intraseasonal variability of the East India Coastal Current on the continental slope

      A Mukherjee D Shankar V Fernando P Amol S G Aparna R Fernandes G S Michael S T Khalap N P Satelkar Y Agarvadekar M G Gaonkar A P Tari A Kankonkar S Vernekar

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      We present data from three acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) moored off Cuddalore (12°N), Kakinada (16.5°N), and Gopalpur (19°N) on the continental slope of the western Bay of Bengal and one mooring on the slope of the northern bay (89°E, 19°N; referred to as being located at Paradip). The data were collected during May 2009 to March 2013 and the observations show that the seasonal cycle, which includes the annual cycle, the semi-annual cycle, and a peak around 120 days, dominates the observed variability of the East India Coastal Current (EICC). Spectral analysis suggests that the 120-day peak dominates the seasonal variability at Paradip and is strong at Gopalpur and Kakinada. The annual cycle is coherent along the western boundary of the bay, i.e., the east coast of India, but with significant phase differences between moorings. At the semi-annual and 120-day periods, the alongshore coherence is weaker. Intraseasonal variability is weaker than the seasonal cycle, particularly at Cuddalore and Paradip, and it exhibits seasonality: the strongest intraseasonal variation is during spring (February–April). Peaks around 12 and 20–22 days are also seen at Gopalpur, Kakinada, and Cuddalore. A striking feature of the currents is the upward phase propagation, but there are also instances when phase propagates downward. The much lower vertical phase speed in the top ∼100 m at Cuddalore leads to a distinct undercurrent at this location; at other locations, the undercurrent, though it exists often, is not as striking. During spring, however, the EICC tends to flow poleward (eastward) at Cuddalore, Kakinada, and Gopalpur (Paradip) over the top ∼300 m, which is the maximum depth to which observations were made. The cross-shore component of the EICC is much weaker than the alongshore component at Cuddalore and, except for a few bursts during spring, at Kakinada and Gopalpur. It is only at Paradip, on the slope of the northern boundary, that significant cross-shore flows are seen during spring and the summer monsoon (June–August) and these flows are seen to be associated with eddy-like circulations in the altimeter data. We use the ADCP data to validate popular current data products like OSCAR (Ocean Surface Currents Analyses Real-time), ECCO2 (Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II), and GODAS (Global Ocean Data Assimilation System). The OSCAR currents at Paradip match the observed currents well, but the correlation is much weaker at the other three locations. Both ECCO2 and GODAS fair poorly, particularly the latter because its variability in this boundary-current regime is extremely weak. Though it performs badly at Paradip, ECCO2 does capture the observed variability on occasions at the other locations.

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