SMOS reveals the signature of Indian Ocean Dipole events

Type Article
Date 2013-12
Language English
Author(s) Durand F1, Alory Gael1, Dussin Raphael2, Reul NicolasORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Toulouse 3, CNRS CNES IRD UPS, UMR 5566, LEGOS, F-31401 Toulouse 09, France.
2 : LEGI, F-38041 Grenoble 09, France.
3 : Ctr Mediterranee, IFREMER, LOS, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
Source Ocean Dynamics (1616-7341) (Springer Heidelberg), 2013-12 , Vol. 63 , N. 11-12 , P. 1203-1212
DOI 10.1007/s10236-013-0660-y
WOS© Times Cited 25
Keyword(s) SSS, Indian Ocean Dipole, SMOS, ARGO, ENSO
Abstract The tropical Indian Ocean experiences an interannual mode of climatic variability, known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The signature of this variability in ocean salinity is hypothesized based on modeling and assimilation studies, on account of scanty observations. Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite has been designed to take up the challenge of sea surface salinity remote sensing. We show that SMOS data can be used to infer the pattern of salinity variability linked with the IOD events. The core of maximum variability is located in the central tropical basin, south of the equator. This region is anomalously salty during the 2010 negative IOD event, and anomalously fresh during the 2011 positive IOD event. The peak-to-peak anomaly exceeds one salinity unit, between late 2010 and late 2011. In conjunction with other observational datasets, SMOS data allow us to draw the salt budget of the area. It turns out that the horizontal advection is the main driver of salinity anomalies. This finding is confirmed by the analysis of the outputs of a numerical model. This study shows that the advent of SMOS makes it feasible the quantitative assessment of the mechanisms of ocean surface salinity variability in the tropical basins, at interannual timescales.
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