Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Heat fluxes of the Indian Ocean from a global eddy-resolving model


  • U. Garternicht,

  • F. Schott


The output of the global eddy-resolving ¼° ocean model of Semtner/Chervin (run by the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California) has been used to study the oceanic temperature and heat flux in the Indian Ocean. The meridional heat flux in the northern Indian Ocean is at the low end of the observed values. A vertical overturning cell in the upper 500 m is the main contributor to the annual mean meridional heat flux across 5°S, whereas the horizontal gyre circulation, confined to the upper 500 m, dominates north of the equator. The change of monsoon winds is manifested in a reversal of the meridional circulation throughout the whole water column. The most notable result is a strong linear relationship of the meridional temperature flux and the zonal wind stress component north of 20°S. The model's Pacific-Indian Ocean throughflow across the section at 120°E accounts for −8.8±5.1 Sv (1 Sv≡106 m3 s−1). A strong interannual variability during the model run of 3 years shows a maximum range of 12 Sv in January/February and a minimum during March through June. The inflow from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean results in a total annual mean temperature flux of −0.9 PW (1 PW≡1015 W). In the model the temperature flux from the Pacific through the Indian Ocean to the south dominates in comparison with the input of solar heat from the northern Indian Ocean.