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Seasonal cycles of meridional overturning and heat transport of the Indian Ocean

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Lee, T., & Marotzke, J. (1998). Seasonal cycles of meridional overturning and heat transport of the Indian Ocean. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 28(5), 923-943. doi:10.1175/1520-0485(1998)028<0923:SCOMOA>2.0.CO;2.

A general circulation model of the Indian Ocean is fitted to monthly averaged climatological temperatures, salinities, and surface fluxes using the adjoint method. Interannual variability is minimized by penalizing the temporal drift from one seasonal cycle to another during a two-year integration. The resultant meridional overturning and heat transport display large seasonal variations, with maximum amplitudes of 18 and 22 (x 10(6) m(3) s(-1)) for the overturning and 1.8 and 1.4 (x 10(15) W) for heat transport near 10 degrees S and 10 degrees N, respectively. A dynamical decomposition of the overturning and heat transport shows that the rime-varying Ekman flow plus its barotropic compensation can explain a large parr of the seasonal variations in overturning and heat transport. The maximum variations at 10 degrees N and 10 degrees S are associated with monsoon reversal over the northern Indian Ocean and changes of the easterlies over the southern Indian Ocean. An external mode with variable topography has a moderate contribution where the Somali Current and the corresponding gyre reverse direction seasonally. Contribution from vertical shear (thermal wind and ageostrophic shear) is dominant near the southern boundary and large near the Somali Current latitudes. The dominant balance in the zonally integrated heat budget is between heat storage change and heat transport convergence except south of 15 degrees S. Optimization with seasonal forcings improves estimates of sea surface temperatures, but the annual average overturning and heat transport are very similar to previous results with annual mean forcings. The annual average heat transport consists of roughly equal contributions from time-mean and time-varying fields of meridional velocities and temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean, indicating a significant rectification to the hear transport due to the time-varying fields. The time-mean and time-varying contributions are primarily due to the overturning and horizontal gyre, respectively. Inclusion of TOPEX data enhances the seasonal cycles of the estimated overturning and heat transport in the central Indian Ocean significantly and improves the estimated equatorial zonal flows but leads to unrealistic estimates of the velocity structure near the Indonesian Throughflow region, most likely owing to the deficiencies in the lateral boundary conditions.