Circulation and water masses of the Arabian Sea

Journal of Earth System Science (Impact Factor: 0.79). 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: 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.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 11/2012; 3:395. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00395 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use data from six Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) moorings deployed during March-September 2008 on the continental shelf and slope off Bhatkal, Goa, and Jaigarh on the central west coast of India to present evidence for poleward propagation of shelf or coastal-trapped waves (CTWs). Wave propagation is seen on the shelf in the 20-40-day, 10-14-day, and 3-5-day-period bands. The lag from south to north indicates that remote forcing is important even at periods as short as 4 days. Using QuikSCAT wind data, we show that the contribution of remote forcing to the shelf West Indian Coastal Current (WICC) is significant even when the local alongshore wind is strong, as during the summer-monsoon onset during May-June, and forces a strong local response that masks the effect of remote forcing. Forced wave calculations using CTW theory show that remote forcing of the WICC is present at all times, but is most striking when the local winds are weak, as during March-April. The CTW calculations show that the source region for the remote forcing may extend beyond the west coast into the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka. On the slope, propagation is seen only at the 4-day period. At higher periods, the slope WICC decorrelates rapidly along the coast, but upward phase propagation, implying downward propagation of energy associated with poleward propagation, is evident even at these higher periods.
    05/2012; 117(C5):5017-. DOI:10.1029/2011JC007606
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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.
    Journal of Earth System Science 04/2012; 109(4):471-479. DOI:10.1007/BF02708334 · 0.79 Impact Factor