Atmospheric forcing on the seasonal variability of sea level at Cochin, southwest coast of India
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The seasonal cycles of some atmospheric parameters at Cochin (southwest coast of India) have been studied with a specific emphasis on the role played by them in forcing the seasonal sea level. Equatorward along-shore wind stress as well as equatorward volume transport by coastal currents along the Indian peninsula could play an important role in the sea level low during the premonsoon and southwest monsoon seasons. During postmonsoon season, along-shore wind stress plays no major role in the high sea level whereas this could be due to the poleward volume transport by the coastal along-shore currents. Atmospheric pressure and river discharge do not seem to influence much the sea level during the southwest monsoon period, even though the river discharge during that period is considerable. The sea level was minimal during the southwest monsoon season, when the river discharge was at its annual maximum. The difference between the seasonal march of observed and pressure corrected sea level (CSL) was not significant for the study region. Harmonic analysis of the climatological data on the various parameters revealed that air temperature is the only parameter with a dominance of the semi-annual over the annual cycle. Cross-shore wind stress indicated strong interannual variability whereas relative density showed strong seasonal variability. The climatological seasonal cycles of CSL at eight other tide gauge stations along the west coast of the Indian subcontinent are also examined, to assess the role of various forcings on the seasonal sea level cycle. The signatures of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon could be seen in some of the parameters (SST, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, alongshore wind stress, relative density and sea level). The signature of ENSO was particularly strong in the case of atmospheric pressure followed by relative density, the variance accounted by the relationship being 47 and 16%, respectively.
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