Multi-scale ocean dynamical processes in the Indo-Pacific Convergence Zone and their climatic and ecological effects
March 20,2023

Yan Du, Fan Wang, Tianyu Wang, Weiwei Liu, Linlin Liang, Ying Zhang, Yunfan Chen, Jiaxing Liu, Wei Wu, Kefu Yu, Jing Zhang

Published in EARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS, February 2023

The Indo-Pacific Convergence Zone (IPCZ) has a complex ocean dynamical system. All scale processes are active and interplay from small-scale turbulent mixing to basin-scale circulation. The IPCZ acts as an “oceanic bridge” for the inter-basin mass transports and basin-scale planetary waves, closely linking basin-scale circulations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Numerous straits in the Indonesian Seas provide oceanic channels for planetary waves propagating between the tropical Pacific and the southeast Indian Ocean. On a large scale, the inter-basin mass transports and planetary waves change the ocean thermal structure, triggering strong air-sea interactions, and further regulating the variability of Walker and Hadley Circulations. The latter form an “atmospheric bridge”, which significantly affects the Asian and Australian monsoon systems and a series of global climate events like El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean Dipole, and Indian Ocean Basinwide warming. On meso- and small- scales, eddy, submesoscale processes, and turbulent motions mix the water mass from different sources, dramatically stirring the upper ocean in the IPCZ.

Ocean dynamics have essential impacts on the ecological system in the IPCZ. On the one hand, these processes directly affect biodiversity by controlling the genetic exchanges and species dispersals between basins. On the other hand, the ocean dynamical processes influence biogeochemical cycling by controlling the trophic transfer, which further impacts primary productivity. With the intensified climate variations under global warming, e.g., marine heatwaves and extreme events, the ocean dynamical processes turn more active and enhance the influence on the ecosystem. This work overviews a series of studies focusing on the multi-scale ocean dynamical and environmental processes in the IPCZ, including the climatic signatures in coral records and the ecological response.

Fig. Schematic of atmospheric and oceanic circulation in the Indo-Pacific Ocean basins. Climatological mean OISST (upper panel; °C) and Argo temperature (lower panels; 5°S-5°N, °C) during 1982–2020 and 2004–2020, respectively. Walker Circulation and Hadley Circulation are indicated by blue lines with vectors. Major oceanic currents are indicated by black lines with vectors. (For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

Du, Y., Wang, F., Wang, T., et al., 2023. Multi-scale ocean dynamical processes in the Indo-Pacific Convergence Zone and their climatic and ecological effects, Earth-Science Reviews, 237, 104313,

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