• Arnold Gordon Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. Palisades, United States.
Keywords: Klaus Wyrtki, Oceanography, Indonesia, Maritime Continent, Indonesian Throughflow


The December 2019 issue of Marine Research in Indonesia on "Oceanography of the Indonesian Seas" is dedicated to Klaus Wyrtki. In many ways, Klaus Wyrtki's contribution to the study of the Indonesian seas served as a smooth transition from the era of the great expeditions such as the Dutch Willebrord Snellius Expedition (1929-1930; see Wüst, 1964; van Aken, 2005) of the early and mid-20th century to the modern era.

In the NAGA Report (Wyrtki, 1961; also see Wyrtki, 2005), Klaus used existing ocean observations, supplemented with data he helped collect on the Indonesian research ship Samudera during his sojourn in Indonesia (1954-1957) as Head of the Institute of Marine Research in Jakarta to map out a broad view of the Southeast Asian waters (the waters of the Maritime Continent including the Indonesian seas). He presented the geography, the configuration of the seas and basins of the Southeast Asian waters, the surface circulation, and governing dynamics, including the tides and monsoonal driven seasonality, and the temperature/salinity surface layer patterns, as well as aspects of the subsurface stratification. The Plates 1-44 beautifully reveal the oceanographic condition of the Southeast Asian waters as resolved by the pre-1960 observations.

As Klaus Wyrtki says in the NAGA Report Preface: "It is hoped that workers in the region, whether in oceanography or other branches of science may find it a source of information and a stimulus to undertake further research in these waters" and "The scientific publications dealing with this region show not so much a lack of observations as a lack of an adequate attempt to synthesize these results to give a comprehensive description of the region." "I soon decided to devote most of my time during my three years’ stay in Indonesia to the preparation of a general description of the oceanography of these waters." He succeeded.


Download data is not yet available.


Arief, D., and Murray, S. P. (1996). Low-frequency fluctuations in the Indonesian Throughflow through Lombok Strait. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 12455-12464. doi:10.1029/96JC00051.

Ffield, A., and Gordon, A. L. (1992). Vertical mixing in the Indonesian thermocline. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 22(2), 184-195. doi: /10.1175/1520-0485(1992)022<0184:VMITIT>2.0.CO;2.

Ffield, A., and Gordon, A. L. (1996). Tidal mixing signatures in the Indonesian seas. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 26(9), 1924-1937. doi:10.1175/1520-0485(1996)026<1924:TMSITI>2.0.CO;2.

Gordon, A.L. (1986a). Interocean exchange of thermocline water. J. Geophys. Res., 91(C4), 5037-5046. doi:10.1029/JC091iC04p05037.

Gordon, A.L. (1986b). Is there a global scale ocean circulation? EOS, 67(9), 109-110. doi: 10.1029/EO067i009p00109.

Gordon, A.L., and Fine, R. (1996). Pathways of water between the Pacific and Indian Oceans in the Indonesian seas. Nature, 379(6561), 146-149. doi:10.1038/379146a0.

Gordon, A.L., (2005) Oceanography of the Indonesian seas and their throughflow. Oceanogr., 18(4), 14-27. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2005.01.

Gordon, A.L., Sprintall, J., Van Aken, H.M., Susanto, D., Wijffels, S., Molcard, R., Ffield, A., Pranowo, W., Wirasantosa, S. (2010a). The Indonesian Throughflow during 2004-2006 as observed by the INSTANT program. In A. L. Gordon and V.M. Kamenkovich (ed), Modeling and Observing the Indonesian Throughflow. Dynam. Atmos. Oceans, 50, 115-128. doi: 10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2009.12.002.

Gordon, A.L., Sprintall, J., Wijffels, S., Susanto, D., Molcard, R., Van Aken, H.M., Ffield, A.L., deRuijter, W., Lutjeharms, J., Speich, S., Beal, L. (2010b). Interocean exchange of thermocline water: Indonesian Throughflow; “Tassie” Leakage; Agulhas Leakage in Hall, J., Harrison D.E., Stammer, D., (ed), Proceedings of the OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society Conference Vol. 2 Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009. Venice, Italy: ESA Publication WPP-306. doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.37.

Gordon, A. L., Huber, B. A., Metzger, E. J., Susanto, R. D., Hurlburt, H. E., Adi, T. R. (2012). South China Sea Throughflow impact on the Indonesian Throughflow. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L11602. doi:10.1029/2012GL052021.

Gordon, A. L., Napitu, A., Huber, B. A., Gruenburg, L. K. Pujiana, K., Agustiadi, T., Kuswardani, A., Mbay, N., Setiawan, A. (2019). Makassar Strait Throughflow seasonal and interannual variability, an Overview. J. Geophys. Res., 124, JC014574 doi:10.1029/2018JC014502.

Koch-Larrouy, A., Lengaigne, M., Terray, P., Madec, G., and Masson, S. (2010). Tidal mixing in the Indonesian seas and its effect on the tropical climate system. Clim. Dyn. 34, 891–904. doi: 10.1007/s00382-009-0642-4.

Koch-Larrouy, A., Atmadipoera, A., van Beek, P., Madec, G., Aucan, J., Lyard, F., Grelet, J., Souhaut, M. (2015). Estimates of tidal mixing in the Indonesian archipelago from multidisciplinary INDOMIX in-situ data. Deep-sea Res. Part I, 106, 136-153. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2015.09.007.

Ilahude, A.G., and Gordon, A. L. (1996). Thermocline stratification within the Indonesian seas. J. Geophys. Res., 101(C5), 12401-12409. doi:10.1029/95JC03798.

Murray, S.P., and Arief, D., (1988). Throughflow into the Indian Ocean through the Lombok Strait, January 1985–January 1986. Nature, 333, 444–447. doi:10.1038/333444a0.

Napitu, A., Pujiana, K., and Gordon, A. L. (2019). The Madden-Julian Oscillation’s impact on the Makassar Strait surface layer transport. J. Geophys. Res-Oceans, 124, JC014729. doi:10.1029/2018JC014729.

Pujiana, K., McPhaden, M. J., Gordon, A. L., and Napitu, A. M. (2019). Unprecedented response of Indonesian throughflow to anomalous Indo-Pacific climatic forcing in 2016. J. Geophys. Res-Oceans, 124, JC014574. doi:10.1029/2018JC014574.

Ray, R., and Susanto, R. D. (2016). Tidal mixing signatures in the Indonesian seas from high?resolution sea surface temperature data. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43(15), 8115-8123. doi:10.1002/2016GL069485.

Sprintall, J., Gordon, A. L., Koch-Larrouy, A., Lee, T., Potemra, J. T., Pujiana, K., and Wijffels, S. E. (2014). The Indonesian seas and their impact on the coupled ocean-climate system. Nat. Geosci., 7, 487-492. doi: 10.1038/NGEO2188.

Sprintall, J., Gordon, A. L., Wijffels, S. E., Feng, M., Hu, S., Koch-Larrouy, A., Phillips, H. E., Nugroho, D., Napitu, A., Pujiana, K., Susanto, R. D., Sloyan, B. M., Yuan, D., Riama, N. F., Siswanto, Kuswardani, A., Arifin, Z., Zhou, H., Nagai, T., Ansong, J. K., Bourdalle-Badie, R., Chanut, J., Lyard, F., Arbic, B. K., Ramdhani, A., and Setiawan A. (2019). Detecting change in the Indonesian seas. Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 257. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00257.

van Aken, H.M., Punjanan, J., and Saimima, S. (1988). Physical aspects of the flushing of the east Indonesian basins. Neth. J. Sea Res., 22(4), 315-339. doi:10.1016/0077-7579(88)90003-8.

van Aken, H.M. (2005). Dutch oceanographic research in Indonesia in colonial times. Oceanogr., 18(4), 30-41. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2005.03.

van Bennekom, A. J. (1988). Deep-water transit times in the eastern Indonesian basins, calculated from dissolved silica in deep and interstitial waters. Neth. J. Sea Res., 22(4), 341-354. doi:10.1016/0077-7579(88)90004-X.

von Storch H., Sündermann J., Magaard L. (2006). Interview with Klaus Wyrtki, 25 February 1999. In: Jochum M., Murtugudde R. (eds), Physical Oceanography. New York: Springer. (pp. 203-237). doi:10.1007/0-387-33152-2_13.

Wüst, G. (1964). The major deep-sea expeditions and research vessels 1873-1960. A contribution to the history of oceanography. Prog. Oceanogr., 2, 1964, 1-52. doi:10.1016/0079-6611(64)90002-3.

Wyrtki, K. (1961). Physical oceanography of the Southeast Asian waters. UC San Diego: Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Wyrtki, K. (1973). An equatorial jet in the Indian Ocean. Science, 181(4096), 262-264. doi: 10.1126/science.181.4096.262.

Wyrtki, K. (2005). Discovering the Indonesian Throughflow. Oceanogr. 18(4), 28–29. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2005.02.

Yuan D., Li, X., Wang, Z., Li, Y., Wang, J., Yang, Y., Hu, X., Tan, S., Zhou, H. Wardana, A. K., Surinati, D., Purwandana, A., Ismail, M. F. A., Avianto, P., Dirhamsyah, Arifin, Z., and von Storch, J. (2018). Observed transport variations in the Maluku Channel of the Indonesian Seas associated with western boundary current changes, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 48:8. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0120.1.

How to Cite
Gordon, A. (2019). KLAUS WYRTKI AND THE MODERN ERA OF THE MARITIME CONTINENT OCEANOGRAPHY. Marine Research in Indonesia, 44(2), 43-62. https://doi.org/10.14203/mri.v44i2.552
Short Communication