Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans






C05005 (20 pages)


[1] A coupled, 3-D biophysical ocean general circulation model is used to investigate how aeolian iron deposition affects the Arabian Sea ecosystem. Two separate aeolian iron deposition fields, derived from the GISS and GOCART atmospheric transport models, have been applied as surface boundary conditions. The model results exhibit widespread biogeochemical sensitivity to the choice of deposition field. With GOCART deposition, SW Monsoon phytoplankton blooms in the western and central Arabian Sea are enhanced and exhibit greater realism. The central Arabian Sea bloom is supported by supplemental input of horizontally advected iron from a pool that undergoes a yearlong progression that begins in the Gulf of Oman, where the difference in aeolian iron enrichment between the two deposition fields is most prevalent. The GOCART-enhanced blooms result in a more pronounced shift toward netplankton, an increase in euphotic zone export flux of up to a 20% during the SW Monsoon and an additional annual biogenic export of 3.5 TgC. The potential ramifications of regional N-cycle alteration through stimulation of N2-fixation that is promoted by significant aeolian mineral flux needs to be explored. The canonical thinking that the northern Arabian Sea is invariably iron replete is now being challenged by both our model results and recent observational studies. As well, our results indicate that Arabian Sea iron concentrations are strongly modulated by the specific nature of aeolian mineral deposition. Thus climate or land use influences on dust mobilization could exercise leading-order controls on regional biogeochemical variability, metabolic status and air-sea exchanges of CO2.


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Original Publication Citation

Wiggert, J. D., & Murtugudde, R. G. (2007). The sensitivity of the southwest monsoon phytoplankton bloom to variations in aeolian iron deposition over the Arabian Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 112(C5), C05005. doi:10.1029/2006jc003514

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