EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Generation and seasonal variability of eddy kinetic energy in the central Indian Ocean

Georgy I. Shapiro1 and Jose Maria Gonzalez-Ondina2
Georgy I. Shapiro and Jose Maria Gonzalez-Ondina
  • 1School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom (
  • 2Plymouth Ocean Forecasting Centre, University of Plymouth Enterprise LTD, Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom (

The breakthrough in our knowledge of ocean eddies came with the results of the POLYGON-67 experiment in the central Indian Ocean carried out in January-April 1967 (see Koshlyakov et al, 2016). It was the first direct and unambiguous observation that proved an earlier hypothesis by V. B. Shtockman of the existence of mesoscale eddies in open ocean, not only next to strong jet-stream currents. Now it is well known that the currents in open ocean are almost everywhere dominated by meso-scale eddies also known as synoptic eddies (Robinson, 1983). POLYGON-67 experiment covered a rectangle bounded by 10-15°N and 63-66.5°E. The purpose of this work is to analyse the seasonal variability of meso-scale eddy activity in the area covered by POLYGON-67 using a modern and comprehensive data set produced by an operational data assimilation model over a period from 1998 to 2017.

The 20-year long eddy resolving reanalysis of velocity fields in the Indian Ocean allows the study of seasonal variability, dynamics and generating mechanisms of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) in the tropical Indian Ocean, including the area covered by the original survey of POLYGON-67. In contrast to some other areas of the World Ocean, the EKE seasonality shows two maxima, the large one in April and the secondary one in October. The main mechanism of EKE generation is the barotropic instability which is evidenced by high correlation between EKE and enstrophy of large-scale currents, representing the strength of horizontal shear. It is found that the main contributor to the EKE variability within POLYGON-67 area is the advection of EKE across the boundaries during January-October, while the local generation has a comparable magnitude during August-December. The direction and strength of surface currents is consistent with the monsoon wind pattern in the area.


Koshlyakov, M.N., Morozov, E.G., and Neiman, V.G., 2016. Historical findings of the Russian physical oceanographers in the Indian Ocean. Geoscience Letters, 3:19; doi:10.1186/s40562-016-0051-6

Robinson, A.R. (Ed), 1983. Eddies in Marine Science. Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-69003-7, 612p.

How to cite: Shapiro, G. I. and Gonzalez-Ondina, J. M.: Generation and seasonal variability of eddy kinetic energy in the central Indian Ocean, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2157,, 2021.

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