Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Seasonal water mass distribution in the Indonesian throughflow entering the Indian Ocean


  • C. Coatanoan,

  • N. Metzl,

  • M. Fieux,

  • B. Coste


A multiparametric approach is used to analyze the seasonal properties of water masses in the eastern Indian Ocean. The data were measured during two cruises of the Java Australia Dynamic Experiment (JADE) program carried out during two opposite seasons: August 1989 (SE monsoon) and February-March 1992 (NW monsoon). These cruises took place at the end of a La Niña event and during an El Niño episode, respectively. Seven sources have been identified in the studied region for the 200–800 m layer: the Subtropical Indian Water, the Indian Central Water, the modified Antarctic Intermediate Water, the Indonesian Subsurface Water, the Indonesian Intermediate Water, the Arabian Sea-Persian Gulf Water (AS-PGW), and the Arabian Sea-Red Sea Water (AS-RSW). The selected tracers are potential temperature, salinity and oxygen with mass conservation and positive mixing coefficients as constraints. The analysis indicates the proportion of each water source along the Australia-Bali section and into the Indonesian channels. Although no large changes are observed for Indonesian waters, significant seasonal variations are found for the southern and northern Indian Ocean water. During the NW monsoon, the contribution of the AS-RSW increases at the entrance of the Indonesian archipelago whereas the contribution of the south Indian waters decreases in the northwest Australia basin. In a complementary study, nutrients are introduced into the multiparametric analysis in order to more clearly separate the signature of the north Indian waters (AS-PGW, AS-RSW) and to provide supplementary information on the biological history of the water masses, which is compared to large-scale primary production estimates.