Nitrogen production in the northern Arabian Sea during the Spring Intermonsoon and Southwest Monsoon seasons

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Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography
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Planktonic nitrogen productivity and regeneration were measured with (NO3)-N-15, (NH4)-N-15 and N-15-urea tracers during the Spring Intermonsoon (SI) and Southwest Monsoon (SWM) seasons in the northern Arabian Sea from the Omani coast southeast to 10 degreesN. On an areal basis, new (nitrate) productivity and the nitrogen f-ratio varied from 0.1 to 13 mmolm(-2) d(-1) and 0.03 to 0.4, respectively. Including urea in total nitrogen uptake lowered the f-ratio by 29% on average for individual samples, and during the SI was most important in offshore regions. The lowest nitrate productivity rates also were measured in offshore regions during the SI, where low, but detectable, nitrate levels limited uptake. The onset of the SWM was associated with an order of magnitude increase in nitrate uptake seaward of the Findlater Jet as compared to the SI. Apparently, the positive effect of the increased availability of nitrate and the Ekman transport of established phytoplankton populations to the region more than offset the degraded light conditions caused by the deep ( > 80m) mixed layers. Despite the increases in offshore nitrate uptake, both a budget of surface particulate material and Th-234 POC flux estimates indicated that the mid- SWM reduced the efficiency of material export from surface waters and disrupted the linkage between new production and export that was evident in the SI. In the mid-SWM, new production mainly accumulated in deeply mixed surface waters offshore, and may be responsible for the well documented lag between the onset of the SWM and export. In the coastal upwelling region, new production rates were significantly greater during the SWM only near filaments of coastal water advected offshore. Ammonium regeneration rates and concentrations increased significantly in coastal regions during the SWM, and nitrification likely was a significant sink for some of the ammonium produced there. The transport of some of the remainder of this reduced nitrogen offshore would fuel nitrogen production without having an impact on local respiration. This is one of several factors that may confound the comparison of new and net production in coastal regions during the early SWM. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


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