Does the Maritime Continent region affect sea level change of the eastern Indian Ocean?

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:00 PM
William Llovel and Tong Lee, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Maritime Continent region, in particular, the Indonesian Sea, regulates the oceanic communication between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Previous studies suggest that the freshwater transported from the South China Sea to the Indonesian Sea affects the magnitude and structure of the Indonesian throughflow, and the strong tidal mixing in the Indonesian Sea alters the time mean vertical structure of the water mass carried from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans. Sea level changes in the eastern Indian Ocean is known to be affected by those in the northwestern Pacific via coastal Kelvin wave propagation through the Indonesian Sea. However, whether the Maritime Continent region influences sea level changes in the eastern Indian Ocean has not been investigated. In this study, we used Argo floats and satellite altimeter data to study the near decadal change of sea level during the 2005-2013 period. We found that the steric sea level change in eastern Indian Ocean cannot be fully explained by either local forcing or the transmission of steric signal from the western Pacific. This implicates the potential role of the Maritime Continent region in regulating sea level changes in the eastern Indian Ocean.