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Publication Date
12 December 2020

Observations and Modeling of Ocean Circulation in the Seychelles Plateau Region



The ocean circulation around and over the Seychelles Plateau (SP) is characterized using 35 months of temperature and velocity measurements along with a numerical model. The results here provide the first documented description of the ocean circulation atop the SP. The SP is an unusually broad (∼200 km), shallow (∼50 m) plateau, dropping off steeply to the abyss. It is situated in a dynamic location (3.5–5.5°S, 54-57°E) in the south-western tropical Indian Ocean where northwesterly winds are present during austral summer and become southeasterly in austral winter, following the reversal of the western Indian ocean monsoon winds. Measurements around the Inner Islands, on the SP, have been carried out since 2015. Velocity measurements show that most of the depth-averaged current variance on the SP arises from near-inertial oscillations and lower-frequency variability. Lower-frequency variability encompasses seasonal and intraseasonal variability, the latter of which includes the effects of mixed Rossby-gravity waves and mesoscale eddies. A global 0.1° numerical ocean simulation is used in conjunction with these observations to describe the regional circulation around the SP. Atop the SP, circulation is dominated by ageostrophic processes consistent with Ekman dynamics, while around the SP, both geostrophic and ageostrophic processes are important and vary seasonally. Stratification responds to the sea surface height semiannual signal which is due to Ekman pumping-driven upwelling (related to the Seychelles-Chagos Thermocline Ridge) and the arrival of an annual downwelling Rossby wave. 

“Observations And Modeling Of Ocean Circulation In The Seychelles Plateau Region”. 2021. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Oceans 126. doi:10.1029/2020JC016593.
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