Role of westerlies and thermohaline characteristics on sea-ice extent in the Indian Ocean Sector of Antarctica

  • M. NuncioEmail author
  • Alvarinho J. Luis


Satellite-derived sea-ice extent in the Indian Ocean Sector during the period November 1978 to December 2006 was studied in relation to the atmospheric forcing and oceanic thermohaline structure. The study revealed that sea-ice extent increased when the ocean exhibited higher stability. Low sea-ice extent was observed during 1985 to 1993, when the zonal winds and latent flux was relatively weak and when the ocean exhibited strong vertical mixing facilitated by low stability thereby, deepening the mixed layer to ∼250 m. This was reflected in the ocean surface layer temperature, which was relatively warm (−0.3°C). Winds increased during 1996 to 2000, but due to higher oceanic stability mixed layer depth shallowed (< 200 m) leading to reduced vertical mixing of deep warmer layers with the surface water, leading to an enhancement in the sea-ice extent.


Sea ice extent Indian Ocean sector Ocean stability Winds 


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© Geological Society of India 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polar Remote Sensing Division, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean ResearchMinistry of Earth SciencesHeadland Sada, GoaIndia

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