The seasonal variability of sea surface salinity anomalies (SSSAs) in the Indian Ocean is investigated for its role in the South Asian Summer Monsoon. We have observed an elongated spatial-feature of the positive SSSAs in the southwestern Indian Ocean before the onset of the South Asian Summer Monsoon (SASM) by using both the Aquarius satellite and the Argo float datasets. The maximum variable areas of SSSAs in the Indian Ocean are along (60°E-80°E) and symmetrical to the equator, divided into the southern and northern parts. Further, we have found that the annual variability of SSSAs changes earlier than that of sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the corresponding areas, due to the change of wind stress and freshwater flux. The change of barrier layer thickness (BLT) anomalies is in phase with that of SSSAs in the southwestern Indian Ocean, which helps to sustain the warming water by prohibiting upwelling. Due to the time delay of SSSAs change between the northern and southern parts, SSSAs, therefore, take part in the seasonal process of the SASM via promoting the SSTAs gradient for the cross-equator currents.
- Sea Surface Salinity