Ocean circulation around Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka, located in the northern Indian Ocean with the Arabian Sea on its western side and the Bay of Bengal on its eastern side and experiences bi-annually reversing monsoon winds. This brief overview explored the dynamics of the surface circulation and coastal upwelling in the waters around Sri Lanka, particularly along the southern coast, using satellite imagery and numerical simulations using the Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS). The results confirmed the presence of the reversing current system, between the equator and Sri Lanka, in response to the changing wind field: the eastward flowing Southwest Monsoon Current (SMC) during the Southwest (SW) monsoon and the westward flowing Northeast Monsoon Current (NMC) during the Northeast (NE) monsoon, respectively. Along the eastern and western coasts, during both monsoon periods, flow is southward converging along the south coast. During the SW monsoon the Island deflects the eastward flowing SMC southward whilst along the east coast the southward flow results from the Sri Lanka Dome recirculation. The major upwelling region was located along the south coast resulting from southward flow converging along the south coast and subsequent divergence associated with the offshore transport of water. The location of the flow convergence and hence the upwelling centre was dependent on the relative strengths of wind driven flow along the east and west coasts: during the SW (NE) monsoon the flow along the western (eastern) coast was stronger migrating the upwelling centre to the east (west).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293–302
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022


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