Planktic foraminifera, particle flux and oceanic productivity off Pakistan, NE Arabian Sea: modern analogues and application to the palaeoclimatic record
Published:January 01, 2002
Hartmut Schulz, Ulrich Von Rad, Venugopalan Ittekkot, 2002. "Planktic foraminifera, particle flux and oceanic productivity off Pakistan, NE Arabian Sea: modern analogues and application to the palaeoclimatic record", The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region, P. D. Clift, D. Kroon, C. Gaedicke, J. Craig
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We use the flux of bulk sediment (CaCO3, biogenic opal, organic carbon, lithogenic material), and of planktic foraminifera (PF) and other shell-bearing plankton from sediment trap EPT-2 off Pakistan to (1) constrain the seasonal pattern of regional productivity and (2) search for indications of the NE monsoon winter situation that may serve as a modern analogue to better reveal the seasonal climatic signals preserved in the sedimentary record of the Arabian Sea. Our trap data show a clear seasonality of fluxes that can also be traced in the composition of non-bioturbated (varved) summer and winter sediment laminae preserved within the oxygen minimum zone. In EPT-2, the flux of PF is low during summer, but during winter and late spring it is higher, as at trap station WAST, in the upwelling area of the western Arabian Sea. Globigerina bulloides, a PF species linked to summer upwelling and high productivity, is of minor importance off Pakistan. In contrast, Globigerina falconensis dominates in flux and relative abundance, and is indicative of winter mixing, when NE monsoonal winds cool the highly saline surface waters and break up stratification. An enhanced horizontal flux of suspended sediments stirred up on the shelf and upper slope is clearly shown by the peak in occurrence of small benthic foraminifera during winter. Altogether, our data suggest that the particle flux in the northeastern Arabian Sea is determined by local sediment resuspension and winter productivity rather than by summer monsoonal upwelling, representing a ‘non-upwelling’ environment, in contrast to the ‘summer upwelling’ regime off Oman, Somalia and southern India. We used this evidence to reconstruct the seasonal intensity of both monsoons for the past 25 ka: the SW and NE monsoon both were weak during the last glacial period. The NE monsoon peaked during the cool phases of the glacial to interglacial climatic transition (i.e. during the Younger Dryas (YD) and Heinrich Event HI). The SW monsoon was reinforced after the YD. Both monsoons were enhanced during early Holocene time, when summer insolation and hence atmospheric forcing was at a maximum.
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The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region
Over long periods of time the tectonic evolution of the solid Earth has been recognized as the major control on the development of the global climate system. Tectonic activity acts in one of two different ways to influence regional and global climate: (i) through the opening and closing of oceanic gateways and its effect on the circulation patterns in the global ocean; (ii) through the growth and erosion of orogenic belts, resulting in changes in oceanic chemistry and disruption of atmospheric circulation. The Arabian Sea region has several features that make it the best area for studies of climate and palaeoceanographic responses to tectonic activity, most notably in the context of the South Asian monsoon and its relationship to the growth of high topography in the adjacent Himalayas and Tibet.
The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region brings together a collection of recent studies on the area from a wide group of international contributors. The paper range from high resolution, Holocene palaeoceanographic studies of the Pakistan margin to regional tectonic reconstructions of the ocean basin and surrounding margins throughout the Cenozoic. Marine geophysics, stratigraphy, isotope chemistry and neotectonics come together in a multidisciplinary approach to the study of interactions of land and sea. while much work remains to be done to understand fully the tectonic and climatic evolution of the Arabian Sea, a great deal has been achieved since the last major review, as detailed in the 26 contributions. This volume is essential reading for palaeoceanographers, sedimentologists and geophysicists. It will also be interest to structural geologists and those working in the petroleum industry.