Meso-scale atmospheric events promote phytoplankton blooms in the coastal Bay of Bengal
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The Bay of Bengal is considered to be a low productive region compared to the Arabian Sea based on conventional seasonal observations. Such seasonal observations are not representative of a calendar year since the conventional approach might miss episodic high productive events associated with extreme atmospheric processes. The influence of extreme atmospheric events, such as heavy rainfall and cyclone Sidr, on phytoplankton biomass in the western Bay of Bengal using both in situ time-series observations and satellite derived Chlorophyll a (Chl a) and sea surface temperature (SST) was examined. Supply of nutrients through the runoff driven by episodic heavy rainfall (234 mm) on 4–5 October 2007 caused an increase in Chl a concentration by four times than the previous in the coastal Bay was observed within two weeks. Similar increase in Chl a, by 3 to 10 times, was observed on the right side of the cyclone Sidr track in the central Bay of Bengal after the cyclone Sidr. These two episodic events caused phytoplankton blooms in the western Bay of Bengal which enhanced approx. 40% of fishery production during October–December 2007 compared to that in the same period in 2006.
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