Hydrological structure and biological productivity of the tropical Indian Ocean
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Hydrological structure analyses of regions in the tropical Atlantic Ocean have consistently revealed the existence of a typical tropical structure characterized by a nitrate-depleted mixed layer above the thermocline. The important biological significance of the top of the nitracline in such situations has been established. The primary production and chlorophyll maxima coincide with the top of the nitracline, this being the level at which conditions for primary production are optimum in terms of light and nutrients. The existence of a similar structure has also been reported in the tropical Pacific. The present study addresses the possibilities of the existence of a `typical tropical structure' in the Indian Ocean, taking into account the monsoonal conditions that are unique to this region. While wind forcing and evaporation dominate the Arabian Sea dynamics, the Bay of Bengal is largely influenced by freshwater runoff and precipitation, in addition to the wind effects. In view of their different oceanographic conditions, these two distinct regions of the northern Indian Ocean have been treated separately in the analysis of data (historical as well as those from the JGOFS (India) cruises). The study focuses on the regional as well as seasonal variations in the oceanographic parameters and nutrient distribution, with an attempt to relate to biological productivity.
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