Impacts of the IOD-associated temperature and salinity anomalies on the intermittent equatorial undercurrent anomalies
The study of Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) has attracted a broad attention in recent years due to its strong response and feedback to the Indian Ocean Dipole. In this paper, we first produce a high-quality simulation of three-dimensional temperature, salinity and zonal current simulation from 1982 to 2014, using a high-resolution ocean general circulation model. On this basis, with two sensitivity experiments, we investigate the role of temperature and salinity anomalies in driving and enhancing the EUC during the positive IOD events by examining the variation of the EUC seasonal cycle and diagnosing the zonal momentum budget along the equatorial Indian Ocean. Our results show that during January–March, the EUC can appear along the entire equatorial Indian Ocean in all years, but during August–November, the EUC can appear and reach the eastern Indian Ocean only during the positive IOD events. The zonal momentum budget analysis indicates that the pressure gradient force contributes most to the variation of the eastward acceleration of zonal currents in the subsurface. During the positive IOD events, strong negative subsurface temperature anomalies exist in the eastern Indian Ocean, with negative surface salinity anomalies in the central and eastern Indian Ocean, resulting in a large pressure gradient force to drive EUC during the August–November. Further, the results of two sensitivity experiments indicate that the temperature anomalies significantly impact the pressure gradient force, playing a leading role in driving the EUC, while the surface salinity anomalies can secondarily help to intensify the eastward EUC through increasing the zonal density gradient in the eastern Indian Ocean and impacting the vertical momentum advection in the subsurface.