In order to investigate how monsoons influence biogeochemical fluxes in the ocean, twelve time-series sediment traps were deployed at six locations in the northern Indian Ocean. In this paper we present particle flux data collected during May 1986 to November 1991 and November 1987 to November 1992 in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal respectively. Particle fluxes were high during both the SW and NE monsoons in the Arabian Sea as well as in the Bay of Bengal. The mechanisms of particle production and transport, however, differ in both the regions.
In the Arabian Sea, average annual fluxes are over 50gm-2y-1 in the western Arabian Sea and less than 27gm-2 y-1 in the central part. Biogenic matter is dominant at sites located near upwelling centers, and is less degraded during peak flux periods. High particle fluxes in the offshore areas of the Arabian Sea are caused by injection of nutrients into the euphotic zone due to wind-induced mixed layer deepening. In the Bay of Bengal, average annual fluxes are highest in the central Bay of Bengal (over
50gm-2y-1) and are least in the southern part of the Bay (37gm-2y-1). Particle flux patterns coincide with freshwater discharge patterns of the Ganges-Brahmaputra river system. Opal/carbonate and organic carbon/carbonate carbon ratios increase during the SW monsoon due to variations in salinity and productivity patterns in the surface waters as a result of increased freshwater and nutrient input from rivers.
Comparison of S years data show that fluxes of biogenic and lithogenic particulate matter are higher in the Bay of Bengal even though the Arabian Sea is considered to be more productive. Our results indicate that in the northern Indian Ocean interannual variability in organic carbon flux is directly related to the strength and intensity of the SW monsoon while its transfer from the upper layers to the deep sea is partly controlled by input of lithogenic matter from adjacent continents.
Volume 129, 2020
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