Skip to main content
Log in

Variability of water exchanges through the Strait of Hormuz

  • Published:
Ocean Dynamics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The variability of the water mass exchange between the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean is investigated using a high-resolution (1/36°) ocean model. We focus on the period from December 1996 to March 1998, having as reference in situ measurements at the Strait of Hormuz. Previous studies, based on models and observations, suggested a perpetual deep outflow, mainly in the southern part of the Strait, and a variable flow in the upper layers. In the present study, we confirm that there is a permanent core of a deep outflow in the Strait at depths greater than 40 m, characterised by high-salinity waters. In addition, we show that there is a seasonal signal in the upper layers net flow in the southern part of the Strait, altering from net inflow during winter/spring to net outflow during summer/fall. The mean annual inflow through the Strait is estimated at 0.22 ± 0.01 Sv and the deep outflow at 0.147 ± 0.01 Sv. The water mass exchange through the Strait is controlled by synoptic processes with high variability net transport fields. These processes characterise the structure and the intensity of the transport patterns, exhibiting 2- to 5-day period. On synoptic time scales, winds drive an immediate baroclinic flow at the Strait of Hormuz, affecting mostly the upper layers, and a quasi-barotropic flow that peaks approximately 2 days later.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


This work was financially supported by funds from the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under the Competitive Research Grant (CRG) programme (Grant no. URF/1/2979-01-01), the IKY Scholarships Programme co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund-ESF) and the Greek national funds through the action entitled “Reinforcement of Postdoctoral Researchers”, in the framework of the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development Programme, Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 20142020. Computational time granted from the Greek Research & Technology Network (GRNET) in the National HPC facility – ARIS – under project ID PR004003 is acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Panagiotis Vasou.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Richard Signell

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vasou, P., Vervatis, V., Krokos, G. et al. Variability of water exchanges through the Strait of Hormuz. Ocean Dynamics 70, 1053–1065 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: