Characteristic patterns of QuikScat-based wind stress and turbulent heat flux in the tropical Indian Ocean

Alvarinho J. Luis, Osamu Isoguchi, H. Kawamura

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Using QuikScat-based vector wind data for 1999-2003, surface wind stress and turbulent heat (Q) have been mapped for the tropical Indian Ocean (IO) to understand their seasonal variability. During July wind stress is enhanced by ∼ 70% in the Arabian Sea compared to that during January. The Arabian Sea experiences a large Q loss (150-200 W/m2) during the summer and winter monsoons, which is nearly 1.3 times of that in the Bay of Bengal. The southeasterlies are strengthened during the southern hemisphere winter. Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis captures different phases of monsoon-induced variability in wind stress and Q, ranging from seasonal to high-frequency perturbations. Coherency between time coefficients of EOF-1 for wind stress and Q suggests that former leads the latter with a temporal lag of 20-40 days for period > 322 days. At high frequencies (< 21 days) Q leads wind stress with a temporal lag of 2 days. Possible explanation for wind stress leading Q over an annual time scale is offered based on the marine atmospheric boundary layer physics and pre-conditioned ocean surface, while on shorter time scales (21 days) ocean thermodynamics through mixed layer processes cause Q to lead wind stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 30


  • Air-sea heat fluxes
  • Empirical Orthogonal Analysis
  • Marine atmospheric boundary layer processes
  • Monsoon
  • QuikScat
  • Tropical Indian Ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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