Dynamics of Indo-Pacific region

Quantitative study of the oceanography in the tropical region (ocean currents, wind-driven buoyancy forced ocean circulation, ocean mixing, sea-air fluxes, sea surface temperature and sea level variability, upwelling and the environmental basis for productivity) and its impact to larger scale climate system, including regional aspects of global environmental change.

The tropical ocean is covered by warm surface temperature belts, which is linked closely with atmospheric convection, spawning the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and may influence the Asian-Australian monsoon. One of the key issues is to understand climate variations and their interactions in the tropical regions from intraseasonal, interannual to decadal time scales, which includes Madden Julian Oscillation, monsoon, Indian Ocean Dipole, ENSO, and Pacific Decadal Variability. 

Indonesian Throughflow measurements

Indonesian region is very important and challenging not only for global ocean circulation and climate but also for seismology and tectonic point of views. In addition, the regional oceans have the most diversed marine biodiversity in the world. Indonesian Seas with complex geometry and passages cover more than 1/6 of the world tropical ocean spanning from 90E to 140E along the equator and provide the only connection between the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean, known as Indonesian throughflow (ITF). Because it is located between the Australian and Asian continents, the climate is strongly affected by the Australia-Asian Monsoon. Additionally, it serves as the center of the atmospheric convection as well as junction of wave-guides (Kelvin and Rossby waves) from the tropical Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

The throughflow is considered to be a key component in shaping the Pacific and Indian Ocean heat and freshwater budgets and climate phenomena responding through the resultant sea surface temperature patterns. This topic is important for resolving the complex regional oceanography and the associated ecosystem and specifically for understanding the ENSO, Indian Ocean Dipole, and Asian-Australian Monsoon climate phenomena.

Deploy moorings to quantify the volume transport and its associated heat/freshwater fluxes at various inflow and outflow passages on Indonesian throughflow

Challenging Questions

How do the equatorial Kelvin and Rossby waves play roles in these climate phenomena?
What is the nature and causes of tropical sea surface temperature and sea level variability on annual to decadal variability?
What are the roles of intraseasonal oscillation and westerly wind burst in the ENSO development?
These waves and intraseasonal variability may be the drivers for plankton production and surface ecological structure in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.