Are eddies nature’s trigger to enhance biological productivity in the Bay of Bengal? Geophys Res Lett 31

Author(s): Prasanna Kumar S, Nuncio M, Narvekar J, Kumar A, Sardesai S, et al.

Abstract

Seasonal cycle of the physical processes and the biological response in the Bay of Bengal were studied using co-located physical, chemical and biological data collected along the central and the western Bay covering four seasons from 2001 to 2006. The spring intermonsoon was characterized by warm surface waters with high salinity and less stable water column compared to summer and fall intermonsoon. During summer, freshening due to precipitation and river discharge strongly stratified the upper water column, especially in the north. Continued freshening and presence of low salinity waters during fall intermonsoon sustained the stratification. Presence of cold core eddies controlled the nutrient flux to the upper layers. During winter, the net heat loss from the sea surface led to the surface cooling with coldest sea surface temperature. Comparatively stronger winds were able to initiate wind-mixing as the water column stability was the least during this period. Less stable water column also supported an efficient nutrient supply by cold core eddies. It resulted in the highest mean column integrated chlorophyll as well as primary productivity. Perennially low surface chlorophyll in the Bay of Bengal was largely controlled by the physical processes such as stratification and reduced wind-mixing. The moderate column integrated chlorophyll biomass as well as primary productivity throughout the year was regulated by the presence of mesoscale eddies.
 

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