Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
22 Jan 2010
 | 22 Jan 2010

Indian Ocean Subtropical Mode Water: its water characteristics and spatial distribution

T. Tsubouchi, T. Suga, and K. Hanawa

Abstract. We have improved a basic description (water characteristics and spatial distribution) of the Indian Ocean Subtropical Mode Water (IOSTMW) using an isopycnally averaged three-dimensional hydrographic dataset. Two mode waters and corresponding wintertime mixed layer depth maxima were observed north of the subtropical front (STF) in the South Indian Ocean: IOSTMW (within 25.8–26.2 σθ) in the region of 28–45° E and another subtropical mode water in the subtropical gyre (within 26.4–26.7 σθ) in the 60–80° E longitudinal band. Through careful examination of the spatial distribution and water characteristics of a core in the layer of minimum vertical temperature gradient (LMVTG), we identified that a mass of LMVTG corresponds to IOSTMW. The average water characteristics of the IOSTMW during approximately 1960–2004 were 16.54 ± 0.49 °C, 35.51 ± 0.04 psu and 26.0 ± 0.1 σθ. The IOSTMW distribution area was estimated to be 25–50° E, 27–38° S. The formation region and approximate water characteristics of the second subtropical mode water were also estimated. Its probable formation region was 37–42° S, 60–80° E and north of the STF, with approximate water characteristics of 12.84 ± 0.57 °C, 35.17 ± 0.11 psu and 26.57 ± 0.04 σθ.