Impact of atmospheric and physical forcings on biogeochemical cycling of dissolved oxygen and nutrients in the coastal Bay of Bengal
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Time-series observations were conducted off Visakhapatnam, central west coast of Bay of Bengal, from October 2007 to April 2009 to examine the influence of physical and atmospheric processes on water column nutrients biogeochemistry. The thermal structure displayed inversions of 0.5 to 1.0 degrees C during winter and were weaker in summer. The water column was vertically stratified during the entire study period and was stronger during October-November 2007 and August-December 2008 compared to other study periods. High concentrations of chlorophyll-a and nutrients were associated with the extreme atmospheric events. The strong relationship of nutrients with salinity indicates that physical processes, such as circulation, mixing and river discharge, have a significant control on phytoplankton blooms in the coastal Bay of Bengal. Phosphate seems to be a controlling nutrient during winter whereas availability of light and suspended matter limits production in summer. Formation of low oxygen conditions were observed in the bottom waters due to enhanced primary production by extreme atmospheric events; however, re-oxygenation of bottom waters through sinking of oxygen-rich surface waters by a warm core (anticyclonic) eddy led to its near recovery. This study reveals that atmospheric and physical processes have significant impacts on the water column biogeochemistry in the coastal Bay of Bengal.
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