The Fate of Surface Freshwater Entering the Indonesian Seas
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The Fate of Surface Freshwater Entering the Indonesian Seas

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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    The Indonesian Seas receive one of the largest amounts of rainfall around the globe. Part of this freshwater disperses to the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF), the Pacific and Indian interocean exchange flow, making the Indonesian Seas a major source of freshwater, and plays an important part of the global hydrological cycle. By using a Lagrangian particle tracking model, we examine the pathways behind the dispersion of freshwater that the Indonesian Seas receive through precipitation. The model suggests that the dispersion from the near-surface water of the Indonesian Seas occurs in about 6 months, primarily through advection to the surrounding seas, followed by evaporation, entrainment, and vertical mixing. The Lombok Strait and the Timor Strait are the major outflowing straits, and the freshwater exiting through these straits are found to originate from limited areas and seasons. The sources for the Lombok Strait outflow are the Java Sea precipitated freshwater during boreal fall and winter, while the sources for the Timor Strait outflow are the Flores-Banda Seas and Arafura Sea precipitated freshwater during winter and spring. Mixing with the thermocline water is found to occur when the monsoonal winds induce upwelling events in winter and summer, along the shelf breaks and steep coastlines surrounding the Flores-Banda Seas. Vertical mixing provides a pathway for the surface freshwater to enter the ITF thermocline, and our model suggests that it is the Java Sea precipitated freshwater during winter that is entering the ITF thermocline along its main pathway.
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    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124, 3228– 3245
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