Sources, fate, and pathways of Leeuwin Current water in the Indian Ocean and Great Australian Bight: A Lagrangian study in an eddy-resolving ocean model

Christopher Yit Sen Bull*, Erik van Sebille

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Leeuwin Current is the dominant circulation feature in the eastern Indian Ocean, transporting tropical and subtropical water southward. While it is known that the Leeuwin Current draws its water from a multitude of sources, existing Indian Ocean circulation schematics have never quantified the fluxes of tropical and subtropical source water flowing into the Leeuwin Current. This paper uses virtual Lagrangian particles to quantify the transport of these sources along the Leeuwin Current's mean pathway. Here the pathways and exchange of Leeuwin Current source waters across six coastally bound sectors on the south-west Australian coast are analyzed. This constitutes the first quantitative assessment of Leeuwin Current pathways within an offline, 50 year integration time, eddy-resolving global ocean model simulation. Along the Leeuwin Current's pathway, we find a mean poleward transport of 3.7 Sv in which the tropical sources account for 60-78% of the transport. While the net transport is small, we see large transports flowing in and out of all the offshore boundaries of the Leeuwin Current sectors. Along the Leeuwin Current's pathway, we find that water from the Indonesian Throughflow contributes 50-66% of the seasonal signal. By applying conditions on the routes particles take entering the Leeuwin Current, we find particles are more likely to travel offshore north of 30°S, while south of 30°S, particles are more likely to continue downstream. We find a 0.2 Sv pathway of water from the Leeuwin Current's source regions, flowing through the entire Leeuwin Current pathway into the Great Australian Bight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1639
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Volume121
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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