Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 29 Issue 02

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Volume 29, No. 2
Pages 102 - 111

Collaborative Observations of Boundary Currents, Water Mass Variability, and Monsoon Response in the Southern Bay of Bengal

Craig M. Lee S.U.P. JinadasaArachaporn Anutaliya Luca R. Centurioni Harindra J.S. Fernando Verena HormannMatthias Lankhorst Luc RainvilleUwe SendHemantha W. Wijesekera
Article Abstract

The region surrounding Sri Lanka modulates monsoon-driven exchange between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Here, local circulation impacts the pathways followed by the boundary currents that drive exchange, thereby modulating mixing and water mass transformation. From 2013 to 2016, an international partnership conducted sustained measurements around the periphery of Sri Lanka, with the goal of understanding how circulation and mixing in this critical region modulate exchange between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Observations from satellite remote sensing, surface drifters, gliders, current meter moorings, and Pressure Inverted Echo Sounders capture seasonally reversing monsoon currents off the southern tip of Sri Lanka, trace the wintertime freshwater export pathway of the East India Coastal Current, and document the deflection of currents running along the east coast of Sri Lanka by cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies. Measurements also reveal energetic interleaving, indicative of mixing and stirring associated with these flows. Circulation inferred from satellite remote sensing and drifter tracks sometimes differs from that indicated by in situ sections, pointing to the need for observing systems that employ complementary approaches toward understanding this region. 


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