Seasonal and annual variability of vertically migrating scattering layers in the northern Arabian Sea Academic Article uri icon


  • A 30-month time series of mean volume backscattering strength (MVBS) data obtained from moored acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) is used to analyze the evolution of vertically migrating scattering layers and their seasonal and annual variability in the Arabian and Oman Seas. Substantial diel vertical migration (DVM) is observed almost every day at all three mooring sites. Two daytime layers (Layers D1 and D2) and one nighttime layer (Layer E1) are typically present. The greatest biomass is observed near the surface during the night in Layer E1 and at depth between 250 and 450. m during the daytime in Layer D2. All layers are deepest during the spring inter-monsoon and shallowest during the summer/fall southwest monsoon (SWM). Seasonal modulation of the D2 biomass change is evident in our high-resolution data. The lowest biomass in D2 is measured in the early summer (May or June) followed by a rapid biomass increase during the SWM (June-November) until the biomass reaches a maximum at the end of the SWM season. Short-period oscillations in D2 biomass are often seen with periods ranging from days to one month. Occasionally, a lower nighttime layer E2 is formed between 180 and 270. m, mostly near the time of full moons. The upper daytime layer D1 is centered at 200. m and densely concentrated. It is only formed during the winter northeast monsoon (NEM) and the spring inter-monsoon. The influence of physical processes on layer distribution is also investigated. Interestingly, the two daytime layers are found to be formed at the two boundaries of the Persian Gulf outflow water (PGW) and follow the seasonal depth change of the PGW. The timing of the DVM and the formation, persistence, decay and reformation of the deep scattering layers seem to be governed by light, both solar and lunar. The scattering strength, the layer depth and the layer thickness are likewise closely related to the Moon phase at night. Cloud coverage, the isotherm and the isohaline also appear to affect the distribution and depth of the scattering layers. The continuous multiple-year acoustic data from ADCPs allow us, for the first time, to study the seasonal and annual variations of scattering layers in this region. 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Z., DiMarco, S. F., Ingle, S., Belabbassi, L., & Al-Kharusi, L. H.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Zhankun||DiMarco, Steven F||Ingle, Stephanie||Belabbassi, Leila||Al-Kharusi, Lubna H

publication date

  • August 2014