The role of seasonal and diel changes in mixed-layer depth on carbon and chlorophyll distributions in the Arabian Sea Academic Article uri icon


  • The effects of changes in the mixed-layer depth on the distribution of particulate organic carbon (POC) and chlorophyll a were examined in the Arabian Sea during the Northeast Monsoon (January and December), Spring Intermonsoon (February-March), and Southwest Monsoon (July and August) of 1995. Pac distributions were derived from profiles of beam attenuation calibrated with Pac, and chlorophyll a distributions were derived from calibrated fluorescence profiles. Depth of the seasonal mixed layer (A of 0.125 kg m-3 from surface density) increased with distance offshore during both monsoons, especially in the southern Arabian Sea where the range was 10-80 m nearshore to 80-120 m offshore. The deepest seasonal mixed layers occurred during the Northeast Monsoon. During the Spring Intermonsoon the seasonal mixed layer was only 10-40 m. Variations in the depth of the diet mixed layer (A of 0.03 kg m-3 from surface density) were up to 90 m during the Northeast Monsoon, but were seldom over 20 m during the Southwest Monsoon. During the Spring Intermonsoon when mixed layers and diet variations in the mixed layer were small, nutrients became depleted, producing oligotrophic conditions plus a strong deep Chlorophyll a maximum (> 2 mg chl m-3) below the mixed layer. The chlorophyll a maximum was centered at ~ 50 m, which is significantly beneath the effective depth of satellite color sensing. When mixing is active throughout the diet cycle, particulate organic carbon (POC) and chlorophyll distributions are quite uniform within the mixed layer. Nighttime increases in mixed layer depths can mix Pac and chlorophyll a produced during the day downward and can entrain new nutrients to enhance primary production. Although mixing from diet variations may be effective in redistributing components within the mixed layer and may be an important mechanism for removing particles from the mixed layer, regional upwelling of nutrients and diatom blooms appear to dominate over diel mixed layer dynamics in the production and export of carbon in the Arabian Sea.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gardner, W. D., Gundersen, J. S., Richardson, M. J., & Walsh, I. D.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Gardner, WD||Gundersen, JS||Richardson, MJ||Walsh, ID

publication date

  • August 1999