Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
Research article
03 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 03 Feb 2015

Coastal sea level response to the tropical cyclonic forcing in the northern Indian Ocean

P. Mehra, M. Soumya, P. Vethamony, K. Vijaykumar, T. M. Balakrishnan Nair, Y. Agarvadekar, K. Jyoti, K. Sudheesh, R. Luis, S. Lobo, and B. Harmalkar

Abstract. The study examines the observed storm-generated sea level variation due to deep depression (event 1: E1) in the Arabian Sea from 26 November to 1 December 2011 and a cyclonic storm "THANE" (event 2: E2) over the Bay of Bengal during 25–31 December 2011. The sea level and surface meteorological measurements collected during these extreme events exhibit strong synoptic disturbances leading to storm surges of up to 43 cm on the west coast and 29 cm on the east coast of India due to E1 and E2. E1 generated sea level oscillations at the measuring stations on the west coast (Ratnagiri, Verem and Karwar) and east coast (Mandapam and Tuticorin) of India with significant energy bands centred at periods of 92, 43 and 23 min. The storm surge is a well-defined peak with a half-amplitude width of 20, 28 and 26 h at Ratnagiri, Verem and Karwar, respectively. However, on the east coast, the sea level oscillations during Thane were similar to those during calm period except for more energy in bands centred at periods of ~ 100, 42 and 24 min at Gopalpur, Gangavaram and Kakinada, respectively. The residual sea levels from tide gauge stations in Arabian Sea have been identified as Kelvin-type surges propagating northwards at a speed of ~ 6.5 m s−1 with a surge peak of almost constant amplitude. Multi-linear regression analysis shows that the local surface meteorological data (daily mean wind and atmospheric pressure) is able to account for ~ 57 and ~ 69% of daily mean sea level variability along the east and west coasts of India. The remaining part of the variability observed in the sea level may be attributed to local coastal currents and remote forcing.

Short summary
This study examines the observed storm-generated sea-level variations at several Indian coastal locations in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and identifies them as storm surges and harbour oscillations. The residual sea levels measured from sea-level stations in AS have been identified as Kelvin-type surges propagating northwards with almost constant amplitude. Multilinear regression analysis using local surface meteorological data is able to account for ~63% of daily mean sea level.