• G S Michael

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Propagation of tides in the Mandovi-Zuari estuarine network

      S R Shetye A D Gouveia S Y Singbal C G Naik D Sundar G S Michael G Nampoothiri

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      Located in Goa on the west coast of India and joining the Arabian Sea, the Mandovi and the Zuari are two estuaries, each about 50 km long, connected by a narrow canal. A number of small rivers join the two estuaries, forming a network of channels, whose cross-sectional area decreases rapidly in the upstream direction. They receive large freshwater influx during the southwest monsoon and little during the rest of the year. During April (dry season) and August (wet season) 1993, the water level and salinity at 15 locations in the network were monitored for 3 days to determine characteristics of tidal propagation in the network. Analysis of the data shows that the speed of propagation of both the diurnal and the semi-diurnal tide through the main channels of the network is approximately 6 m/s. Amplitudes of these tides in the channels remain unchanged over a distance of about 40 km from the mouth and then decay rapidly upstream over the next 10 km. The undamped propagation is a consequence of the balance between geometric amplification, due to decrease in the cross-sectional area in the upstream direction, and frictional dissipation. The rapid decay near the upstream end of the channels appears to result primarily from freshwater influx.

    • Tidal propagation in the Gulf of Khambhat, Bombay High, and surrounding areas

      A S Unnikrishnan S R Shetye G S Michael

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      The continental shelf on the west coast of India is widest off Bombay and leads into a strongly converging channel, the Gulf of Khambhat. Tides in the Gulf are among the largest on the coast. We use data on amplitude and phase of major semi-diurnal and diurnal constituents at forty-two ports in the Gulf and surrounding areas to define characteristics of the tides. We then use a barotropic numerical model based on shallow water wave equations to simulate the sea level and circulation in the region. The model is forced by prescribing the tide along the open boundaries of the model domain. Observed sea level at Bombay and currents from the Bombay High region at the centre of the model domain and from a shallow station off the port of Dahanu compare favourably with the fields simulated by the model. The simulated amplitudes and phases of the four most prominent tidal constituents also compare favourably with those observed along the coast, except at a few locations where the model spatial resolution (6.37 km × 6.37 km) appears to be inadequate to resolve the local geometry. Though this encourages us to conclude that the circulation in the region is dominated by barotropic tides, a concern is that the observational database on hydrography and directly measured currents in the region is weak.

    • 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.

    • Improved bathymetric datasets for the shallow water regions in the Indian Ocean

      B Sindhu I Suresh A S Unnikrishnan N V Bhatkar S Neetu G S Michael

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      Ocean modellers use bathymetric datasets like ETOPO5 and ETOPO2 to represent the ocean bottom topography. The former dataset is based on digitization of depth contours greater than 200m, and the latter is based on satellite altimetry. Hence, they are not always reliable in shallow regions. An improved shelf bathymetry for the Indian Ocean region (20°E to 112°E and 38°S to 32°N) is derived by digitizing the depth contours and sounding depths less than 200m from the hydrographic charts published by the National Hydrographic Office, India. The digitized data are then gridded and used to modify the existing ETOPO5 and ETOPO2 datasets for depths less than 200 m. In combining the digitized data with the original ETOPO dataset, we apply an appropriate blending technique near the 200m contour to ensure smooth merging of the datasets. Using the modified ETOPO5, we demonstrate that the original ETOPO5 is indeed inaccurate in depths of less than 200m and has features that are not actually present on the ocean bottom. Though the present version of ETOPO2 (ETOPO2v2) is a better bathymetry compared to its earlier versions, there are still differences between the ETOPO2v2 and the modified ETOPO2. We assess the improvements of these bathymetric grids with the performance of existing models of tidal circulation and tsunami propagation.

    • Wind-driven estuarine turbidity maxima in Mandovi Estuary, central west coast of India

      Pratima M Kessarkar V Purnachandra Rao R Shynu Ishfaq Mir Ahmad Prakash Mehra G S Michael D Sundar

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      Systematic studies on the suspended particulate matter (SPM) measured on a seasonal cycle in the Mandovi Estuary, Goa indicate that the average concentrations of SPM at the regular station are ∼20mg/l, 5mg/l, 19mg/l and 5mg/l for June–September, October–January, February–April and May, respectively. SPM exhibits low-to-moderate correlation with rainfall indicating that SPM is also influenced by other processes. Transect stations reveal that the SPM at sea-end stations of the estuary are at least two orders of magnitude greater than those at the river-end during the monsoon. Estuarine turbidity maximum (ETM) of nearly similar magnitude occurs at the same location in two periods, interrupted by a period with very low SPM concentrations. The ETM occurring in June–September is associated with low salinities; its formation is attributed to the interactions between strong southwesterly winds ($5.1–5.6ms^{−1}$) and wind-induced waves and tidal currents and, dominant easterly river flow at the mouth of the estuary. The ETM occurring in February–April is associated with high salinity and is conspicuous. The strong NW and SW winds ($3.2–3.7ms^{−1}$) and wind-driven waves and currents seem to have acted effectively at the mouth of the estuary in developing turbidity maximum. The impact of sea breeze appears nearly same as that of trade winds and cannot be underestimated in sediment resuspension and deposition.

    • 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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