Monsoon control on trace metal fluxes in the deep Arabian Sea
Particulate fluxes of aluminium, iron, magnesium and titanium were measured using six time-series sediment traps deployed in the eastern, central and western Arabian Sea. Annual Al fluxes at shallow and deep trap depths were 0.47 and 0.46 g m-2 in the western Arabian Sea, and 0.33 and 0.47 g m-2 in the eastern Arabian Sea. There is a difference of about 0.9–1.8 g m-2y-1 in the lithogenic fluxes determined analytically (residue remaining after leaching out all biogenic particles) and estimated from the Al fluxes in the western Arabian Sea. This arises due to higher fluxes of Mg (as dolomite) in the western Arabian Sea (6–11 times higher than the eastern Arabian Sea). The estimated dolomite fluxes at the western Arabian Sea site range from 0.9 to 1.35gm-2y-1. Fe fluxes in the Arabian Sea were less than that of the reported atmospheric fluxes without any evidence for the presence of labile fraction/excess of Fe in the settling particles. More than 75% of Al, Fe, Ti and Mg fluxes occurred during the southwest (SW) monsoon in the western Arabian Sea. In the eastern Arabian Sea, peak Al, Fe, Mg and Ti fluxes were recorded during both the northeast (NE) and SW monsoons. During the SW monsoon, there exists a time lag of around one month between the increases in lithogenic and dolomite fluxes. Total lithogenic fluxes increase when the southern branch of dust bearing northwesterlies is dragged by the SW monsoon winds to the trap locations. However, the dolomite fluxes increase only when the northern branch of the northwesterlies (which carries a huge amount of dolomite accounting 60% of the total dust load) is dragged, from further north, by SW monsoon winds. The potential for the use of Mg/Fe ratio as a paleo-monsoonal proxy is examined.