Mechanisms of formation of the Arabian Sea mini warm pool in a high-resolution Ocean General Circulation Model



[1] An Ocean General Circulation Model of the Indian Ocean with high horizontal (0.25° × 0.25°) and vertical (40 levels) resolutions is used to study the dynamics and thermodynamics of the Arabian Sea mini warm pool (ASMWP), the warmest region in the northern Indian Ocean during January–April. The model simulates the seasonal cycle of temperature, salinity and currents as well as the winter time temperature inversions in the southeastern Arabian Sea (SEAS) quite realistically with climatological forcing. An experiment which maintained uniform salinity of 35 psu over the entire model domain reproduces the ASMWP similar to the control run with realistic salinity and this is contrary to the existing theories that stratification caused by the intrusion of low-salinity water from the Bay of Bengal into the SEAS is crucial for the formation of ASMWP. The contribution from temperature inversions to the warming of the SEAS is found to be negligible. Experiments with modified atmospheric forcing over the SEAS show that the low latent heat loss over the SEAS compared to the surroundings, resulting from the low winds due to the orographic effect of Western Ghats, plays an important role in setting up the sea surface temperature (SST) distribution over the SEAS during November–March. During March–May, the SEAS responds quickly to the air-sea fluxes and the peak SST during April–May is independent of the SST evolution during previous months. The SEAS behaves as a low wind, heat-dominated regime during November–May and, therefore, the formation and maintenance of the ASMWP is not dependent on the near surface stratification.