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Makassar Strait Throughflow Seasonal and Interannual Variability: An Overview

Gordon, Arnold L.; Napitu, Asmi Marintan; Huber, Bruce A.; Gruenburg, Laura Kristen; Pujiana, Kandaga; Agustiadi, Teguh; Mbay, Nurman; Setiawan, Agus

The Makassar Strait throughflow of ~12–13 Sv, representing ~77% of the total Indonesian Throughflow, displays fluctuations over a broad range of time scales, from intraseasonal to seasonal (monsoonal) and interannual scales. We now have 13.3 years of Makassar throughflow observations: November 1996 to early July 1998; January 2004 to August 2011; and August 2013 to August 2017. Strong southward transport is evident during boreal summer, modulated by an ENSO interannual signal, with weaker southward flow and a deeper subsurface velocity maximum during El Niño; stronger southward flow with a shallower velocity maximum during La Niña. Accordingly, the southward heat flux, a product of the along‐channel current and temperature profiles, is significantly larger in summer and slightly larger during La Niña. The southward flow relaxed in 2014 and more so in 2015/2016, similar though not as extreme as during the strong El Niño event of 1997. In 2017, the throughflow increased to ~20 Sv. Since 2016, the deep layer, 300‐ to 760‐m southward transport increases, almost doubling to ~7.5 Sv. From mid‐2016 into early 2017, the transports above 300 m and below 300 m are about equal, whereas previously, the ratio was about 2.7:1. Near zero or northward flow occurs in the upper 100 m during boreal winter, albeit with interannual variability. Particularly strong winter reversals were observed in 2014/2015 and 2016/2017, the latter being the strongest winter reversal revealed in the entire Makassar time series.


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