Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Marine Science

First Advisor

Subrahmanyam Bulusu


Studies on oceanic and atmospheric processes in the Indian Ocean are an active and important area of scientific research. Understanding how intraseasonal and interannual variations impact both the ocean and atmosphere will aid in delineating potential feedback mechanisms and global teleconnections. Thanks to recent efforts focused on expanding observational capabilities and developing models for this region, researchers have been able to begin investigating atmospheric and oceanic processes in the Indian Ocean. This study focuses on the impact of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on tropical cyclone activity over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and on developing a method for estimating the barrier layer thickness (BLT) in the Indian Ocean from satellite observations. National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP-2) and Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) reanalysis data are used to investigate the alterations in atmospheric and oceanic conditions that impact tropical cyclones during ENSO events over a 33-year time frame (1979-2011). Atmospheric conditions are shown to be more favorable for tropical cyclone development during La Niña over the BoB due to the favorable alteration of large-scale wind, moisture, and vorticity distributions. By combining multiple satellite observations, including the recently launched Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Aquarius SAC-D salinity missions, BLT estimates for the Indian Ocean are generated with the use of a multilinear regression model (MRM). The performance of the MRM is evaluated for the Southeast Arabian Sea (SEAS), Bay of Bengal (BoB), and Eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean (EEIO) where barrier layer formation is most rigorous. Results from the MRM suggest that salinity measurements obtained from Aquarius and SMOS can be useful for tracking and predicting the BLT in the Indian Ocean.