Physical controls on oxygen distribution and denitrification potential in the North West Arabian Sea

Bastien Y. Queste, Clément Vic, Karen J. Heywood, Sergey A. Piontkovski

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At suboxic oxygen concentrations, key biogeochemical cycles change and denitrification becomes the dominant remineralization pathway. Earth system models predict oxygen loss across most ocean basins in the next century; oxygen minimum zones near suboxia may become suboxic and therefore denitrifying. Using an ocean glider survey and historical data, we show oxygen loss in the Gulf of Oman (from 6–12 to <2 μmol/kg−1) not represented in climatologies. Because of the nonlinearity between denitrification and oxygen concentration, resolutions of current Earth system models are too coarse to accurately estimate denitrification. We develop a novel physical proxy for oxygen from the glider data and use a high‐resolution physical model to show eddy stirring of oxygen across the Gulf of Oman. We use the model to investigate spatial and seasonal differences in the ratio of oxic and suboxic water across the Gulf of Oman and waters exported to the wider Arabian Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4143-4152
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018


  • deoxygenation
  • Oman
  • glider
  • Arabian sea
  • denitrifcation
  • eddies

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