An evaluation of physical and biogeochemical processes regulating perennial suboxic conditions in the water column of the Arabian Sea
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Monthly oxygen budgets for the subsurface Arabian Sea (100-1000 m) are constructed on the basis of Modular Ocean Model and recently collected oxygen data. The model results are in agreement with the observed pattern. The model results revealed that oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the Arabian Sea is regulated largely by physical processes in association with biogeochemical cycling of oxygen. This results in perennial suboxic conditions in the water column with no significant seasonal variability. Maintenance of OMZ during nonmonsoon seasons, when oligotrophic conditions prevail in surface layers, occurs through low supply of oxygen by physical pump aided by continued oxygen consumption in the oxidation of organic matter produced during monsoons. On the other hand, formation of anoxic conditions during monsoons, when higher sinking fluxes of carbon occur is prevented by higher flux of oxygen by the physical pump. Hence, suboxic conditions in the Arabian Sea are maintained by physical pump with moderation from monsoonal biological pump. The residence time of the Arabian Sea intermediate waters (100-1000 m) was computed to be 6.5 years with rapid replacement during monsoons. The oxygen consumption rates are also high during monsoons compared with nonmonsoon seasons. The carbon regeneration rates computed based on the water mass-mixing model, bacterial carbon demand, and electron transport system activity in the subsurface layers are in agreement with oxygen consumption rates estimated based on this model.
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