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A sea surface salinity dipole mode in the tropical Indian Ocean

Zhang, Yuhong, Du, Yan, Qu, Tangdong
Climate dynamics 2016 v.47 no.7-8 pp. 2573-2585
advection, climate, freshwater, salinity, surface water temperature, Indian Ocean
Based on the 10 years sea surface salinity (SSS) data from Argo, we identified a salinity dipole mode in the tropical Indian Ocean, termed S-IOD: a pattern of interannual SSS variability with anomalously low-salinity in the central equatorial and high-salinity in the southeastern tropical Indian Ocean. The S-IOD matures in November–December, lagging the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) mode derived from sea surface temperature (SST) by 2 months. For the period of observations, the S-IOD persists longer than the IOD, until the following September–October. Oscillations of the two S-IOD poles are governed by different processes. Ocean advection associated with equatorial current variability dominates the SSS anomalies of the northern pole, while surface freshwater flux variability plays a key role in the SSS anomalies of the southern pole, where anomalous precipitation is sustained by preformed sea surface temperature anomalies. The S-IOD concurs with the strong IOD, reflecting an ocean–atmosphere coupling through the SST-precipitation-SSS feedback.