Monsoon oscillations regulate fertility of the Red Sea

Dionysios E. Raitsos, Xing Yi, Trevor Platt, Marie-Fanny Racault, Robert J. W. Brewin, Yaswant Pradhan, Vassilis P. Papadopoulos, Shubha Sathyendranath, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Tropical ocean ecosystems are predicted to become warmer, more saline, and less fertile in a future Earth. The Red Sea, one of the warmest and most saline environments in the world, may afford insights into the function of the tropical ocean ecosystem in a changing planet. We show that the concentration of chlorophyll and the duration of the phytoplankton growing season in the Red Sea are controlled by the strength of the winter Arabian monsoon (through horizontal advection of fertile waters from the Indian Ocean). Furthermore, and contrary to expectation, in the last decade (1998–2010) the winter Red Sea phytoplankton biomass has increased by 75% during prolonged positive phases of the Multivariate El Niño–Southern Oscillation Index. A new mechanism is reported, revealing the synergy of monsoon and climate in regulating Red Sea greenness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-862
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2015

Cite this