• Bay of Bengal;
  • Indian Ocean;
  • intraseasonal variations;
  • salinity effects

[1] Intraseasonal variations (ISV) of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) is highest in its northwestern part. An Indian Ocean model forced by QuikSCAT winds and climatological river discharge (QR run) reproduces ISV of SST, albeit with weaker magnitude. Air-sea fluxes, in the presence of a shallow mixed layer, efficiently effect intraseasonal SST fluctuations. Warming during intraseasonal events is smaller (<1°C) for June - July period and larger (1.5° to 2°C) during September, the latter due to a thinner mixed layer. To examine the effect of salinity on ISV, the model was run by artificially increasing the salinity (NORR run) and by decreasing it (MAHA10 run). In NORR, both rainfall and river discharge were switched off and in MAHA10 the discharge by river Mahanadi was increased tenfold. The spatial pattern of ISV as well as its periodicity was similar in QR, NORR and MAHA10. The ISV was stronger in NORR and weaker in MAHA10, compared to QR. In NORR, both intraseasonal warming and cooling were higher than in QR, the former due to reduced air-sea heat loss as the mean SST was lower, and the latter due to enhanced subsurface processes resulting from weaker stratification. In MAHA10, both warming and cooling were lower than in QR, the former due to higher air-sea heat loss owing to higher mean SST, and the latter due to weak subsurface processes resulting from stronger stratification. These model experiments suggest that salinity effects are crucial in determining amplitudes of intraseasonal SST variations in the BoB.