Circulation and water masses of the Arabian Sea

Journal of Earth System Science (Impact Factor: 0.7). 103(2):107-123. DOI: 10.1007/BF02839532

ABSTRACT The dynamics and thermodynamics of the surface layer of the Arabian Sea, north of about 10N, are dominated by the monsoon-related
annual cycle of air-sea fluxes of momentum and heat. The currents in open-sea regime of this layer can be largely accounted
for by Ekman drift and the thermal field is dominated by local heat fluxes. The geostrophic currents in open-sea subsurface
regime also show a seasonal cycle and there is some evidence that signatures of this cycle appear as deep as 1000 m. The forcing
due to Ekman suction is an important mechanism for the geostrophic currents in the central and western parts of the Sea. Recent
studies suggest that the eastern part is strongly influenced by the Rossby waves radiated by the Kelvin waves propagating
along the west coast of India.

The circulation in the coastal region off Oman is driven mainly by local winds and there is no remotely driven western boundary
current. Local wind-driving is also important to the coastal circulation off western India during the southwest monsoon but
not during the northeast monsoon when a strong (approximately 7 × 106m3/sec) current moves poleward against weak winds. This current is driven by a pressure gradient which forms along this coast
during the northeast monsoon due to either thermohaline-forcing or due to the arrival of Kelvin waves from the Bay of Bengal.

The present speculation about flow of bottom water (deeper than about 3500 m) in the Arabian Sea is that it moves northward
and upwells into the layer of North Indian Deep Water (approximately 1500–3500m). It is further speculated that the flow in
this layer consists of a poleward western boundary current and a weak equatorward flow in the interior. It is not known if
there is an annual cycle associated with the deep and the bottom water circulation.

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    ABSTRACT: The variability in partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and its control by biological and physical processes in the mixed layer (ML) of the central and eastern Arabian Sea during inter-monsoon, northeast monsoon, and southwest monsoon seasons were studied. The ML varied from 80–120 m during NE monsoon, 60–80 m and 20–30 m during SW- and inter-monsoon seasons, respectively, and the variability resulted from different physical processes. Significant seasonal variability was found in pCO2 levels. During SW monsoon, coastal waters contain two contrasting regimes; (a) pCO2 levels of 520–685 μatm were observed in the SW coast of India, the highest found so far from this region, driven by intense upwelling and (b) low levels of pCO2 (266 μatm) were found associated with monsoonal fresh water influx. It varied in ranges of 416–527 μatm and 375–446 μatm during inter- and NE monsoon, respectively, in coastal waters with higher values occurring in the north. The central Arabian Sea pCO2 levels were 351–433, 379–475 and 385–432 μatm during NE-inter and SW monsoon seasons, respectively. The mixed layer pCO2 relations with temperature, oxygen, chlorophylla and primary production revealed that the former is largely regulated by physical processes during SW- and NE monsoon whereas both physical and biological processes are important in inter-monsoon. Application of Louanchiet al (1996) model revealed that the mixing effect is the dominant during monsoons, however, the biological effect is equally significant during SW monsoon whereas thermodynamics and fluxes influence during inter-monsoons.
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    ABSTRACT: A pronounced deficit of nitrogen (N) in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) of the Arabian Sea suggests the occurrence of heavy N-loss that is commonly attributed to pelagic processes. However, the OMZ water is in direct contact with sediments on three sides of the basin. Contribution from benthic N-loss to the total N-loss in the Arabian Sea remains largely unassessed. In October 2007, we sampled the water column and surface sediments along a transect cross-cutting the Arabian Sea OMZ at the Pakistan continental margin, covering a range of station depths from 360 to 1430 m. Benthic denitrification and anammox rates were determined by using (15)N-stable isotope pairing experiments. Intact core incubations showed declining rates of total benthic N-loss with water depth from 0.55 to 0.18 mmol N m(-2) day(-1). While denitrification rates measured in slurry incubations decreased from 2.73 to 1.46 mmol N m(-2) day(-1) with water depth, anammox rates increased from 0.21 to 0.89 mmol N m(-2) day(-1). Hence, the contribution from anammox to total benthic N-loss increased from 7% at 360 m to 40% at 1430 m. This trend is further supported by the quantification of cd(1)-containing nitrite reductase (nirS), the biomarker functional gene encoding for cytochrome cd(1)-Nir of microorganisms involved in both N-loss processes. Anammox-like nirS genes within the sediments increased in proportion to total nirS gene copies with water depth. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses of NirS revealed different communities of both denitrifying and anammox bacteria between shallow and deep stations. Together, rate measurement and nirS analyses showed that anammox, determined for the first time in the Arabian Sea sediments, is an important benthic N-loss process at the continental margin off Pakistan, especially in the sediments at deeper water depths. Extrapolation from the measured benthic N-loss to all shelf sediments within the basin suggests that benthic N-loss may be responsible for about half of the overall N-loss in the Arabian Sea.
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    ABSTRACT: An unusual phytoplankton bloom dominated by unidentified green coloured spherical algal cells (∼5 μm diameter) and dinoflagellates (Heterocapsa, Scripsiella and Gymnodinium) was encountered along the coast of Goa, India during 27 and 29 January, 2005. Pigment analysis was carried out using both fluo-rometric and HPLC methods. Seawater samples collected from various depths within the intense bloom area showed high concentrations of Chl a (up to 106 mg m −3) associated with low bacterial produc-tion (0.31 to 0.52 mg C m −3 h −1) and mesozooplankton biomass (0.03 ml m −3). Pigment analyses of the seawater samples were done using HPLC detected marker pigments corresponding to prasinophytes, dinoflagellates and diatoms. Chlorophyll b (36–56%) followed by peridinin (15–30%), prasinoxanthin (11–17%) and fucoxanthin (7–15%) were the major diagnostic pigments while pigments of cryptophytes and cyanobacteria including alloxanthin and zeaxanthin formed <10%. Although microscopic analysis indicated a decline in the bloom, pheaophytin concentrations in the water column measured by both techniques were very low, presumably due to fast recycling and/or settling rate. The unique composition of the bloom and its probable causes are discussed in this paper.
    Journal of Earth System Science 12/2011; 120(6):1145-1154. · 0.70 Impact Factor