Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

The regime shift in the 1960s and associated atmospheric change over the southern Indian Ocean

  • Tianyu Wang
  • Yan Du
  • Xiaomei Liao


The change of sea surface temperature (SST) in the southern Indian Ocean (SIO) during the recent six decades has been analyzed based on oceanic reanalysis and model, as well as atmospheric data. The results show that a thermal regime shift in SIO during the 1960s, which is not caught enough attentions, has been of equal magnitude to the linear warming since 1970. Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analyses reveal that a thermal shift is combined with atmospheric changes such as the weakening of westerly during the period of 1960–1967. Inner dynamic connections can be defined that when the westerly winds turn weak, the anticyclonic wind circulation between westerly winds and the trade winds decreases, which further reduces the SST to a negative peak in this period. It is noted that the shifts in the 1960s are also evident for Southern Hemisphere. For example, subtropical high and the entire westerly winds belt at high latitudes both change dramatically in the 1960s. This large-scaled process maybe link to the change of southern annular mode (SAM).

Key words

sea surface temperature regime shift southern Indian Ocean interdecadal variabilities linear trend 


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This study benefits from discussions with Arbi Iman. We thank the National Climatic Data Center ( and Frontier Research Center for Global Change (http:// for providing sea surface temperature data sets. The ECMWF ORA-S3 data were downloaded from the Asia-Pacific Data Research Center, University of Hawaii (


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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