09 Feb 2021

09 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Reviews and syntheses: Physical and biogeochemical processes associated with upwelling in the Indian Ocean

Puthenveettil Narayana Menon Vinayachandran1, Yukio Masumoto2, Mike Roberts3, Jenny Hugget4, Issufo Halo5, Abhisek Chatterjee6, Prakash Amol7, Garuda V. M. Gupta8, Arvind Singh9, Arnab Mukherjee10, Satya Prakash6, Lynnath E. Beckley11, Eric Jorden Raes12, and Raleigh Hood13 Puthenveettil Narayana Menon Vinayachandran et al.
  • 1Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, 560012, India
  • 2Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • 3Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • 4Oceans and Coasts Research, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Private Bag X4390, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
  • 5Department of Conservation and Marine Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, PO Box 652, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
  • 6Indian National Centre for Indian Ocean Services, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Hyderabad, India
  • 7CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Regional Centre, Visakhapatnam, 530017, India
  • 8Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Kochi, India
  • 9Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, 380009, India
  • 10National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Goa, India
  • 11Environmental and Conservation Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia
  • 12CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, TAS, 7001 Australia
  • 13University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, USA

Abstract. The Indian Ocean presents two distinct climate regimes. The North Indian Ocean is dominated by the monsoons, whereas the seasonal variation is less pronounced in the south. The prevailing wind pattern produces upwelling along different parts of the coast in both hemispheres during different times of the year. Additionally, dynamical processes and eddies either cause or enhance upwelling. This paper reviews the phenomena of upwelling along the coast of the Indian Ocean extending from the tip of South Africa to the southern tip of the west coast of Australia. Observed features, underlying mechanisms, and the impact of upwelling on the ecosystem are presented.

In the Agulhas Current region, cyclonic eddies associated with the Natal pulses drive slope upwelling and enhances chlorophyll concentration along the continental margin. The Durban break-away eddy spun-up by the Agulhas upwells cold nutrient-rich water. Besides, topographically induced upwelling occurs along the inshore edges of Agulhas Current. Wind-driven coastal upwelling occurs along the South coast of Africa and augments the dynamical upwelling in the Agulhas Current. Upwelling hotspots along Mozambique are present in the northern and southern sectors of the channel, and they are ascribed to dynamical effects of ocean circulation in addition to wind forcing. Interaction of mesoscale eddies with the western boundary, anticyclonic eddy pair interactions, and passage of cyclonic eddies cause upwelling. Upwelling along the southern coast of Madagascar is caused by Ekman wind-driven mechanism and by eddy generation and inhibited by Southwest Madagascar Coastal Current. The seasonal upwelling that occurs along the East African coast is primarily driven by the Northeast monsoon winds and enhanced by topographically induced shelf-breaking and shear instability between the East African Coastal Current and the island chains. Somali coast presents a strong case for the classical Ekman type of upwelling. This upwelling can be inhibited by the arrival of deeper thermocline signals generated in the offshore region by wind stress curl. The upwelling is nearly uniform along the coast of Arabia, it is caused by the alongshore component of the summer monsoon winds and modulated by the arrival of Rossby waves generated in the offshore region by cyclonic wind stress curl. Along the west coast of India, upwelling is driven by coastally trapped waves together with the alongshore component of the southwesterlies. Along the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka, the strong Ekman transport dives upwelling. Upwelling is feeble along the east coast of India and occurs during the summer, caused by alongshore winds. In addition, mesoscale eddies lead to upwelling but the arrival of river water plumes inhibits upwelling along this coast. Southeasterly winds drive upwelling along the coast of Sumatra and Java during summer. Kelvin wave propagation originating from the Equatorial Indian Ocean affects the magnitude and extent of Sumatra and Java upwelling. Both ENSO and IOD events cause large variability of upwelling here. Along the west coast of Australia, southerly winds can dominate over the Leeuwin Current, causing sporadic upwelling, which is prominent along the southwest, central, and Gascoyne coasts during summer. The open ocean upwelling in the southern tropical Indian Ocean and within the Sri Lanka Dome is driven primarily by the wind stress curl but also impacted by Rossby wave propagations.

Upwelling is a key driver in enhancing biological productivity in all sectors of the coast, as indicated by enhanced sea surface chlorophyll concentrations. Additional knowledge at varying levels has been gained through in situ observations and model simulations. In the Mozambique channel, upwelling simulates new production, and circulation redistributes the production generated by upwelling and mesoscale eddies leading to observations of higher ecosystem impact along the edges of eddies. Similarly, along the southern Madagascar coast, biological connectivity is influenced by the transport of phytoplankton from upwelling zones. Along the coast of Kenya, both productivity rates and zooplankton biomass are higher during the upwelling season. Along the Somali coast, accumulation of upwelled nutrients in the northern part of the coast leads to spatial inhomogeneity in productivity. On the other hand, productivity is more uniform along the coasts of Yemen and Oman. Upwelling along the west coast of India has several biogeochemical implications, including oxygen depletion, denitrification, and high production of CH4 and dimethyl sulfide. Though feeble, wind-driven upwelling leads to significant enhancement of phytoplankton in the northwest Bay of Bengal during the summer monsoon. Along the Sumatra and Java coasts, upwelling affects the phytoplankton composition and assemblages. Dissimilarities in copepod assemblages occur during the upwelling periods along the west coast of Australia. Phytoplankton abundance characterizes inshore edges of the slope during upwelling season, and upwelling eddies are associated with abundance in Krill.

The review identifies the northern coast of the Arabian Sea and eastern coasts of the Bay of Bengal as the least observed sectors. Further, sustained long-term observations with high temporal and spatial resolutions along with high-resolution modeling efforts are suggested for a proper description of upwelling, its variability, and its relationship to the ecosystem.

Puthenveettil Narayana Menon Vinayachandran et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on bg-2020-486', V. Valsala, 18 Feb 2021
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2020-486', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2020-486', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Mar 2021

Puthenveettil Narayana Menon Vinayachandran et al.

Puthenveettil Narayana Menon Vinayachandran et al.


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Short summary
Upwelling in the coastal ocean triggers biological productivity and thus enhances fisheries. Therefore, understanding the phenomenon of upwelling and the underlying mechanisms is important. In this paper, the present understanding of the upwelling along the coastline of the Indian Ocean from the coast of Africa all the way upto the coast of Australia is reviewed. The review provides a synthesis of the physical processes associated with upwelling and its impact on the marine ecosystem.