Dynamics of the Indian-Ocean oxygen minimum zones
Progress in Oceanography
In the Indian Ocean, mid-depth oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) occur in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The lower part of the Arabian-Sea OMZ (ASOMZ; below 400 m) intensifies northward across the basin; in contrast, its upper part (above 400 m) is located in the central/eastern basin, well east of the most productive regions along the western boundary. The Bay-of-Bengal OMZ (BBOMZ), although strong, is weaker than the ASOMZ. To investigate the processes that maintain the Indian-Ocean OMZs,
... ndian-Ocean OMZs, we obtain a suite of solutions to a coupled biological/physical model. Its physical component is a variable-density, 6 1 2 -layer model, in which each layer corresponds to a distinct dynamical regime or water-mass type. Its biological component has six compartments: nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton, two size classes of detritus, and oxygen. Because the model grid is non-eddy resolving (0.5°), the biological model also includes a parameterization of enhanced mixing based on the eddy kinetic energy derived from satellite observations. To explore further the impact of local processes on OMZs, we also obtain analytic solutions to a one-dimensional, simplified version of the biological model. Our control run is able to simulate basic features of the oxygen, nutrient, and phytoplankton fields throughout the Indian Ocean. The model OMZs result from a balance, or lack thereof, between a sink of oxygen by remineralization and subsurface oxygen sources due primarily to northward spreading of oxygenated water from the Southern Hemisphere, with a contribution from Persian-Gulf water in the northern Arabian Sea. The northward intensification of the lower ASOMZ results mostly from horizontal mixing since advection is weak in its depth range. The eastward shift of the upper ASOMZ is due primarily to enhanced advection and vertical eddy mixing in the western Arabian Sea, which spread oxygenated waters both horizontally and vertically. Advection carries small detritus from the western boundary into the central/eastern Arabian Sea, where it provides an additional source of remineralization that drives the ASOMZ to suboxic levels. The model BBOMZ is weaker than the ASOMZ because the Bay lacks a remote source of detritus from the western boundary. Although detritus has a prominent annual cycle, the model OMZs do not because there is not enough time for significant remineralization to occur.