Science Meetings

Detecting the Influence of Ocean Process on the Moisture Supply for India Summer Monsoon from Satellite Sea Surface Salinity
Tang, W., Yueh, S.H., Liu, W.T., Fore, A., and Hayashi, A. (24-Feb-16)

A strong contrast in the onset of Indian summer monsoon was observed by independent satellites: average rain rate over India subcontinent (IS) in June was more than doubled in 2013 than 2012 (TRMM); also observed are larger area of wet soil (Aquarius) and high water storage (GRACE). The difference in IS rainfall was contributed to the moisture inputs through west coast of India, estimated from ocean wind (OSCAT2) and water vapor (TMI). This is an interesting testbed for studying the role of ocean on terrestrial water cycle, in particular the Indian monsoon, which has tremendous social-economical impact. What is the source of extra moisture in 2013 or deficit in 2012 for the monsoon onset? Is it possible to quantify the contribution of ocean process that maybe responsible for redistributing the freshwater in favor of the summer monsoon moisture supply? This study aims to identify the influence of ocean processes on the freshwater exchange between air-sea interfaces, using Aquarius sea surface salinity (SSS). We found two areas in Indian Ocean with high correlation between IS rain rate and Aquarius SSS: one area is in the Arabian Sea adjacent to IS, another area is a horizontal patch from 60°E to 100°E centered around 10°S. On the other hand, E-P (OAflux, TRMM) shows no similar correlation patterns with IS rain.

Based on the governing equation of the salt budget in the upper ocean, we define the freshwater flux, F, from the oceanic branch of the water cycle, including contributions from salinity tendency, advection, and subsurface process. The tendency and advection terms are estimated using Aquarius SSS and OSCAR ocean current. We will present results of analyzing the spatial and temporal variability of F and evidence of and hypothesis on how the oceanic processes may enhance the moisture supply for summer Indian monsoon onset in 2013 comparing with 2012. The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) has been producing the global soil moisture (SM) every 2-3 days. The SMAP radiometer has also been used to produce SSS at 50 km resolution. Preliminary coincident analysis on SMAP SM and SSS data for the Indian monsoon will also be presented. This study demonstrates the importance and benefits of integrated analysis of continuous spacebased observations towards the characterization, understanding, and prediction of the global water cycle.