Climate Dynamics

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 751–767 | Cite as

Generation and termination of Indian Ocean dipole events in 2003, 2006 and 2007

  • Suryachandra A. Rao
  • Jing-Jia Luo
  • Swadhin K. Behera
  • Toshio Yamagata


Evolution of Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events in 2003, 2006 and 2007 is investigated using observational and re-analysis data products. Efforts are made to understand various processes involved in three phases of IOD events; activation, maturation and termination. Three different triggers are found to activate the IOD events. In preceding months leading to the IOD evolution, the thermocline in southeastern Indian Ocean shoals by reflection of near equatorial upwelling Rossby waves at the East African coast into anomalous upwelling equatorial Kelvin waves. Strengthening (weakening) of northern (southern) portion of ITCZ in March/April and May/June of IOD years, leads to strengthening of alongshore winds along Sumatra/Java coasts. With the combined shallow thermocline and increased latent heat flux due to enhanced wind speeds, the SST in the southeastern Indian Ocean cools in following months. On intraseasonal time scales convection-suppressing phase of Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) propagates from west to east in May/June of IOD year, and easterlies associated with this phase of MJO causes further shoaling of thermocline in southeastern Indian Ocean, through anomalous upwelling Kelvin wave. All these three mechanisms appear to be involved in initiating IOD event in 2006. On the other hand, except the strengthening/weakening of ITCZ, all other mechanisms are involved in activation of 2003 IOD event. Activation of 2007 IOD event was due to propagation of convection-suppressing MJO in May/June and strengthening of mean winds along Sumatra/Java coast from March to June through changes in convection. The IOD events matured into full-fledged events in the following months after activation, by surface heat fluxes, vertical and horizontal advection of cool waters supported by local along-shore upwelling favorable winds and remote equatorial easterly wind anomalies through excitation of upwelling Kelvin waves. Propagating MJO signals in the tropical Indian Ocean brings significant changes in evolution of IOD events on MJO time scales. Termination of 2003 and 2007 IOD events is achieved by strong convection-enhancing MJOs propagating from west to east in the tropical Indian Ocean which deepen the thermocline in the southeastern equatorial Indian Ocean. IOD event in 2006 was terminated by seasonal reversal of monsoon winds along Sumatra/Java coasts which stops the local coastal upwelling.


Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Dipole Tropical Indian Ocean Equatorial Indian Ocean Vertical Advection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The merged SSH data set is obtained from the Collecte Localisation Satellites, France; TMI and QuikSCAT from Remote SensingSystems; GPCC daily rainfall data were provided by the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for Atmospheres,


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suryachandra A. Rao
    • 1
  • Jing-Jia Luo
    • 2
  • Swadhin K. Behera
    • 2
  • Toshio Yamagata
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  2. 2.Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTECYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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