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Kaiyue Wang, Yisen Zhong, Meng Zhou. Mixed layer warming by the barrier layer in the southeastern Indian Ocean[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2151-4
Citation: Kaiyue Wang, Yisen Zhong, Meng Zhou. Mixed layer warming by the barrier layer in the southeastern Indian Ocean[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2151-4

Mixed layer warming by the barrier layer in the southeastern Indian Ocean

doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2151-4
Funds:  The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 42276003; the Oceanic Interdisciplinary Program of Shanghai Jiao Tong University under contract No. SL2021MS021; the Shanghai Frontiers Science Center of Polar Science (SCOPS).
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  • The southeastern Indian Ocean is characterized by the warm barrier layer (BL) underlying the cool mixed layer water in austral winter. This phenomenon lasts almost half a year and thus provides a unique positive effect on the upper mixed layer heat content through the entrainment processes at the base of the mixed layer, which has not been well evaluated due to the lack of proper method and dataset. Among various traditional threshold methods, here we show that the 5 m fixed depth difference can produce a reliable and accurate estimate of the entrainment heat flux (EHF) in this BL region. The comparison between the daily and monthly EHF warming indicates that the account for high-frequency EHF variability almost doubles the warming effect in the BL period, which can compensate for or even surpass the surface heat loss. This increased warming is a result of stronger relative rate of the mixed layer deepening and larger temperature differences between the mixed layer and its immediate below in the daily-resolving data. The interannual EHF shows a moderately increasing trend and similar variabilities to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), likely because the mixed layer deepening under the positive SAM trend is accompanied by enhanced turbulent entrainment and thus increases the BL warming.
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