Physical oceanography of the present day Indonesian Throughflow
Debra Tillinger, 2011. "Physical oceanography of the present day Indonesian Throughflow", The SE Asian Gateway: History and Tectonics of the Australia-Asia Collision, R. Hall, M. A. Cottam, M. E. J. Wilson
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The Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) transfers c. 15 Sv (1 Sv=106 m3s−1) of relatively cool, fresh water from the tropical Pacific Ocean to the tropical Indian Ocean. Additionally, the ITF is a key interocean component of the global ocean warm water route, which returns water from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean to close the loop of the thermohaline overturning circulation associated with North Atlantic Deep Water. That flow consequently freshens the Indian Ocean and transports heat between basins. The ITF can also be described by the island rule, which relates the winds over the entire South Pacific Ocean to the magnitude of the ITF. El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) dominates the regional variability in the Pacific Ocean and exerts a strong control over the variability of ITF transport. The Indian Ocean responds to the ENSO signal as well, but is also influenced by the Indian Ocean Dipole, a climate phenomenon that may act independently of ENSO to affect the ITF.
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Collision between Australia and SE Asia began in the Early Miocene and reduced the former wide ocean between them to a complex passage which connects the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Today, the Indonesian Throughflow passes through this gateway and plays an important role in global thermohaline flow. The surrounding region contains the maximum global diversity for many marine and terrestrial organisms. Reconstruction of this geologically complex region is essential for understanding its role in oceanic and atmospheric circulation, climate impacts, and the origin of its biodiversity.
The papers in this volume discuss the Palaeozoic to Cenozoic geological background to Australia and SE Asia collision. They provide the background for accounts of the modern Indonesian Throughflow and oceanographic changes since the Neogene, and consider aspects of the region’s climate history.