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Modification of the Stratification and Velocity Profile Within the Straits and Seas of the Indonesian Archipelago

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Final rept. 2010-2012

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The gap in understanding basic ocean physics of the Indonesian seas is most acute in the northeastern seas the Halmahera Sea, Maluku Sea, the Seram Sea and the northern Banda Sea Spice Islands. Besides the monsoonal forcing there is an abundance of intraseasonal features of varied scales, derived from the energetic Pacific western boundary currents that project into the region by way of the Mindanao and Halmahera Retroflections Eddies localized winds blowing through the gaps between the islands composing the Spice Island configuration, inducing submesoscale clockwise and counterclockwise wind stress structures strong tidal currents amidst the array of small seas and narrow passages. These factors make for a vigorous turbulent environment, yet it is necessary to develop a quantitative grasp of the associated small scale ocean processes to properly model the regional circulation, and its role in the climate and marine ecosystems. The objective of N00014-10-1-0317 was to develop and present this theme to our Indonesian colleagues, with the intention of developing a field activity in the Spice Island region. The broader research questions to be addressed are How does the stratification, velocitytransport respond to remote and local forcing What are the dominant physical and dynamical balances that characterize the flow mixing at different locations and scales How well do models simulate the observed characteristics The justification of the program is the premise that improved understanding of the ocean processes within the northeastern seas of Indonesia, keyed to the complex geography and intraseasonal oceanatmosphere activity, will provide the basis of improved high resolution ocean modeling with applications to such areas as understanding of the nutrient fluxes and larvae trajectories, and associated food chain structures that will allow for informed management of marine living resources.

Subject Categories:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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