Advection and diffusion of Indonesian throughflow water within the Indian Ocean South Equatorial Current

Arnold L. Gordon, Shubin Ma, Donald B. Olson, Peter Hacker, Amy Ffield, Lynne D. Talley, Douglas Wilson, Molly Baringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Warm, low salinity Pacific water weaves through the Indonesian Seas into the eastern boundary of the Indian Ocean. The Indonesian Throughflow Water (ITW) adds freshwater into the Indian Ocean as it spreads by the advection and diffusion within the Indian Ocean's South Equatorial Current (SEC). The low salinity throughflow trace, centered along 12°S, stretches across the Indian Ocean, separating the monsoon dominated regime of the northern Indian Ocean from the more typical subtropical stratification to the south. ITW is well represented within the SEC thermocline, extending with concentrations above 80% of initial characteristics from the sea surface to 300-m within the eastern half of the Indian Ocean, with 60% concentration reaching well into the western Indian Ocean. The ITW transport within the SEC varies from 4 to 12 × 106 m-3sec-1, partly in response to variations of the injection rate at the eastern boundary and to the likelihood of a zonally elongated recirculation cell between the Equatorial Counter Current and the SEC within the Indian Ocean. Lateral mixing disperses the ITW plume meridionally with an effective isopycnal mixing coefficient of 1.1 to 1.6 × 104 m2sec-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97GL01061
Pages (from-to)2573-2576
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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