Title: Influence of the Asia Monsoon on the Red Sea Basic Ecosystem Dynamics
Authors: BARALE VittorioGADE M.
Citation: 12th Biennial Conference of Pan Ocean Remote Sensing Conference (PORSEC 2014) Proceedings
Publisher: PORSEC
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC94179
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC94179
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The basic ecosystem dynamics of the Red Sea, described by the prevailing patterns of algal blooming, have been assessed for the decade July 1999 to June 2009. The space–time variability of chlorophyll-like pigment concentration, provided by the SeaWiFS data set, was considered as a proxy of biomass and, under certain circumstances, productivity. The comparison with concurrent surface wind speed and direction, from QuikScat data, allowed to correlate the variability of pigment concentration with atmospheric forcing. The observed seasonality is essentially bimodal, with a fall-winter period of extended blooming, progressing from south to north and back, followed by a spring-summer period of reduced blooming, primarily in the northern sub-basin. This annual cycle seems to match the climatic characteristics of the basin, the monsoon-driven wind regime in particular, and the ensuing thermohaline circulation described by the in situ, satellite and modeling data record. The correlation between these surface parameters suggests that the Red Sea behaves like a classical sub-tropical basin, where production is never limited by sunlight, but always limited by nutrient availability. This condition seems to be relaxed only in the colder season, in the northern sub-basin in particular, when wind-driven convection processes can enrich the euphotic zone with nutrients from deeper layers. However, at the same time, it appears that other blooming episodes, in the southern sub-basin in particular, are not driven directly by the wind field, but rather by other factors such as the exchange of water with the Arabian Sea, via the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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