• R Ramesh

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Air-sea exchange of CO2 in the Gulf of Kutch, northern Arabian Sea based on bomb-carbon in corals and tree rings

      S Chakraborty R Ramesh S Krishnaswami

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      Radiocarbon analyses were carried out in the annual bands of a 40 year old coral collected from the Gulf of Kutch (22.6°N, 70°E) in the northern Arabian Sea and in the annual rings of a teak tree from Thane (19°14′N, 73°24′E) near Bombay. These measurements were made in order to obtain the rates of air-sea exchange of CO2 and the advective mixing of water in the Gulf of Kutch. The Δ14C peak in the Thane tree occurs in the year 1964, with a value of ∼630‰, significantly lower than that of the mean atmospheric Δ14C of the northern hemisphere (∼ 1000‰). The radiocarbon time series of the coral was modelled considering the supply of carbon and radiocarbon to the gulf through air-sea exchange and advective water transport from the open Arabian Sea. A reasonable fit for the coral data was obtained with an air-sea CO2 exchange rate of 11–12 mol m−2 yr−1, and an advective velocity of 28 m yr−1 between the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Kutch; this was based on a model generated time series for radiocarbon in the Arabian Sea. The deduced velocity (∼ 28 m yr−1) of the advective transport of water between the gulf and the Arabian Sea is much lower than the surface tidal current velocity in this region, but can be understood in terms of net fluxes of carbon and radiocarbon to the gulf to match the observed coral Δ14C time series.

    • Stable isotope variations in a coral (Favia speciosa) from the Gulf of Kutch during 1948–1989 A.D.: Environmental implications

      S Chakraborty R Ramesh

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      The stable isotopic analyses (δ18O and δ13C) of a coralFavia speciosa spanning forty two years (1948–89 A.D.), collected from the Pirotan island (22.6°N, 70°E) in the Gulf of Kutch have been carried out to assess its potential for retrieving past environmental changes in this region. It is seen that the summer (minima) δ18O variations in the coral CaCO3 are negatively correlated with seasonal (summer) monsoon rainfall in the adjoining region of Kutch and Saurashtra and a qualitative reconstruction of historical rainfall variations in this region can be obtained by analyzing the δ18O in this species of coral. The observed mean seasonal range of δ18O variations is 0.34 ±0.17‰ (n = 42), whereas the expected range calculated (from available SST and measured δ18O of sea water) is ∼ 1.1 ±0.15‰ The difference is due to the coarse resolution of sampling, which can be corrected. The seasonal range in δ13C is ∼ l‰ and is explained by changes in: a) the light intensity related to the cloudiness during monsoons and b) phytoplankton productivity.

    • Stable isotope systematics of surface water bodies in the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan (Kashmir) region

      Kanchan Pande J T Padia R Ramesh K K Sharma

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      Stable hydrogen (δD) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope ratios of the headwaters of the Indus and its tributaries, surface ice in glaciers, saline and fresh water lakes and thermal springs in the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan (Kashmir) region are reported. The δ5D-δ18 relationship for the river samples shows a slope of 9.12 +-0.29 which agrees well with the estimate of 8.99 ±0.33 based on a simple Rayleigh fractionation model. The unique signature of a higher deuterium excess (d) of the ‘Western Disturbance’ is preserved in these samples. An altitude effect of -0.9 per mil/km is observed in the δ18O of Indus waters. At a lower altitude (Beas) the altitude effect is almost double, indicating that the altitude effect decreases with elevation in this region.

    • Climatic significance of D/H and13C/12C ratios in Irish oak cellulose

      M G L Baillie J R Pilcher A M Pollard R Ramesh

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      δD and δ13C analyses of cellulose nitrate from two modern Irish oak trees that form part of the 7400 year long chronology were carried out, covering a period of 123 years (1861–1983 A.D.) with a 5 year resolution so as to assess the potential of this long chronology for retrieval of palaeoenvironmental data. One of the trees (Q5293) showed significant correlations of δD, δ13 C and ring width with mean annual temperatures as recorded at the Armagh weather station nearby and the mean fall temperatures of Central England. The other tree (Q5296) did not exhibit any significant climatic correlations either because it grew utilizing a nearby permanent source of ground water or because the intra-ring isotopic variations in Irish oak are significant enough to mask the climatic signal. Whilst our results have given a positive indication of the usefulness of these trees for palaeoenvironmental information, more trees need to be analysed to confirm our findings.

      Even though one of the trees did not exhibit climatic correlations, both trees show a significant positive correlation of δ13C and a negative correlation of δD with ring width variations. Furthermore, two tree samples that grew during the 1620s B.C., when a volcano is thought to have erupted on the Aegean island of Santorini, show increased δD and decreased δ13C for one to two decades following the eruption, though the magnitudes of change seem to vary with site and trees. We have proposed a possible mechanism based on tree phenology to explain both the above effects.

    • Effect of intraband variability on stable isotope and density time series obtained from banded corals

      S Chakraborty R Ramesh J M Lough

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      Density, δ18O and δ13C were measured along two tracks, one close to the central growth axis and the other, ∼20ℴ off the axis, in a coral (Porites lutea) collected from the Stanley Reef, Central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The δ18O variations in the coral are well correlated with sea surface temperature changes. The common variances between the two tracks were about 60% in the δ18O, δ{13}C, and the skeletal density variations. Part of the noise (40%) could be due to the difficulty of sampling exactly time contemporaneous parts of each band along the two tracks and part of it could be due to genuine intraband variability. In spite of the intraband variability, the time series obtained from the two tracks are similar, indicating that the dominant causative factor for the isotopic variations is external, i.e., the environmental conditions that prevail during the growth of the coral; density band formation does not appear to be directly controlled by the sea surface temperature.

    • Palaeomonsoon and palaeoproductivity records of δ18O, δ{13}C and CaCO3 variations in the northern Indian Ocean sedimentsC and CaCO3 variations in the northern Indian Ocean sediments

      A Sarkar R Ramesh S K Bhattacharya N B Price

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      δ18 O and δ13C of G.sacculifer have been measured in five cores from the northern Indian Ocean. In addition, high resolution analysis (1 to 2 cm) was performed on one core (SK-20-185) for both δ18O and gd13C in five species of planktonic foraminifera. CaCO3 variation was measured in two cores. The results, presented here, show that

      • the summer monsoon was weaker during 18 ka and was stronger during 9 ka, relative to modern conditions;

      • δ13C variations are consistent with independent evidence that shows that during the last glacial maximum (LGM; 18 ka) the upwelling was reduced while during 9 ka it was vigorous;

      • calculation of CaCO3 flux shows that the LGM was characterized by low biogenic productivity in the Arabian Sea while during the Holocene productivity increased by ∼65%, as a direct consequence of the changes in upwelling. Similar changes (of lesser magnitude) are also seen in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The amount of terrigenous input into the Arabian Sea doubled during LGM possibly due to the higher erosion rate along the west coast.

      • δ18O values indicate that the Arabian Sea was saltier by 1 to 2%o during LGM. The northern part was dominated by evaporation while in the equatorial part there was an increased precipitation.

    • Calcretes in the Thar desert: Genesis, chronology and palaeoenvironment

      R P Dhir S K Tandon B K Sareen R Ramesh T K G Rao A J Kailath N Sharma

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      The calcretes in the Thar desert occur in a variety of settings, including the piedmonts, sheetwash aggraded plains; and this study adds calcretes in regolith and colluvio-alluvial plains to the group of settings in which calcretes occur in the region. Field logs, morphological details and analytical data such as petrographic, cathodoluminescence and geochemical characteristics are described along with a discussion on their implications. Sand dunes and sandy plains dating to < 20 ka have weakly developed calcretes. The better-developed calcrete horizons occur in piedmonts, interdunes or in areas that have sufficient groundwater. Deep sections in the region show phases of calcrete development in aeolian sand aggradation at ∼ 150, ∼ 100, ∼ 60 and 27–14 ka. The extensive sheetwash plains have mature calcretes and date to mid-Pleistocene. Our studies indicate that these calcretes represent a hybrid process, where carbonate enrichment of the originally calcareous host occurred due to periodically raised groundwaters, and its differentiation into nodules occurred under subaerial environment i.e., after recession of groundwater. Deep sections also show a stack of discrete calcretes that developed in individual aggradation episodes with hiatuses as indicated by ESR dating results. Nodules display a multiplicity of carbonate precipi tation events and internal reorganization of calcitic groundmass. The process is accompanied by degradation and transformation of unstable minerals, particularly clays and with a neosynthesis of palygorskite.

      The ancient calcretes are dated from the beginning of the Quaternary to ∼ 600 ka and show more evolved morphologies marked by brecciation, dissolution, laminar growth on brecciated surfaces, pisolites and several generations of re-cementation. Mica/chlorite schists and such other rocks are particularly vulnerable to replacement by carbonate. In an extreme case, replacement of quartzose sandstone was observed also. The presence of stretches of alluvio-colluvial plains in an area presently devoid of drainage bespeaks of occasional high-energy fluvial regime, under a semi-arid climate. The mid-Pleistocene period saw a shift towards more arid climate and this facilitated sheetwash aggradation. Finally, during the late Pleistocene, aggradation of aeolian sands indicated a progressively drier climate. However, this does not find its reflection in stable isotope data. The amount of carbonate in the form of calcretes is substantial. The present studies indicate that aeolian dust or rainwater are minor contributors to the carbonate budget. A more important source was provided by the pre-existing calcretes in the sheetwash aggraded plains and detrital carbonate in the aeolian sediments. The original source of carbonate in the region, however, remains unresolved and will need further investigations. Electron spin resonance protocols for the dating of calcretes were developed as a part of this study and the results accorded well with geological reasoning

    • Spatial and temporal distribution of methane in an extensive shallow estuary, South India

      A Shalini R Ramesh R Purvaja J Barnes

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      Sedimentary methane (CH4) fluxes and oxidation rates were determined over the wet and dry seasons (four measurement campaigns) in Pulicat lake, an extensive shallow estuary in south India. Dissolved CH4 concentrations were measured at 52 locations in December 2000. The annual mean net CH4 flux from Pulicat lake sediments was 3.7 × 109 g yr-1 based on static chamber measurements. A further 1.7 × 109g yr-1 was estimated to be oxidized at the sediment-water interface. The mean dissolved concentration of CH4 was 242nmol ¦-1 (ranging between 94 and 501 nmol ¦-1) and the spatial distribution could be explained by tidal dynamics and freshwater input. Sea-air exchange estimates using models, account only for ∼13% (0.5 × 109 g yr-1) of the total CH4 produced in sediments, whereas ebullition appeared to be the major route for loss to the atmosphere (∼ 63% of the net sediment flux). We estimated the total atmospheric source of CH4 from Pulicat lake to be 0.5 to 4.0 × 109g yr-1.

    • Measurement of marine productivity using 15N and 13C tracers: Some methodological aspects

      Naveen Gandhi Sanjeev Kumar S Prakash R Ramesh M S Sheshshayee

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      Various experiments involving the measurement of new, regenerated and total productivity using 15N and 13C tracers were carried out in the Bay of Bengal (BOB) and in the Arabian Sea. Results from 15N tracer experiments indicate that nitrate uptake can be underestimated by experiments with incubation time > 4 hours. Indirect evidence suggests pico- and nano-phytoplankton, on their dominance over microphytoplankton, can also influence the f-ratios. Difference in energy requirement for assimilation of different nitrogen compounds decides the preferred nitrogen source during the early hours of incubation. Variation in light intensity during incubation also plays a significant role in the assimilation of nitrogen. Results from time course experiments with both 15N and 13C tracers suggest that photoinhibition appears significant in BOB and the Arabian Sea during noon. A significant correlation has been found in the productivity values obtained using 15N and 13C tracers.

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