Upwelling and nutrient dynamics in the Arabian Gulf and sea of Oman

Kaltham Abbas Ismail, Maryam R. Al Shehhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study demonstrates the vertical and horizontal distribution of nutrients and the seasonal response of nutrients to upwelling in the Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Thus, monthly data on nitrate, phosphate, and silicate are obtained from the World Ocean Atlas 2018 (WOA), as well as estimates of coastal and curl driven upwelling in both regions. The results of the study indicate that the Sea of Oman’s surface and deep waters contained higher concentrations of nutrients than the Arabian Gulf by 80%. In addition, both regions have exhibited a general increase in the vertical distribution of nutrients as the depth increases. Among the aforementioned nutrients, nitrate is found to be a more limiting nutrient for phytoplankton growth than phosphate as the nitrate-to-phosphate ratios (N:P) in surface waters are lower (≤ 4.6:1) than the Redfield ratio (16:1). As for the upwelling, curl-driven upwelling accounts for more than half of the total upwelling in both regions, and both play an important role in nutrient transport. Thus, nutrients are upwelled from the subsurface to the mixed layer at a rate of 50% in the Oman Sea from 140 m to 20 m during the summer and to 40 m during the winter. Similarly, the Arabian Gulf shows 50% transport for nitrates, but 32% for phosphates, from 20 m to 5–10 m. However, due to the abundance of diatoms at the surface of the Arabian Gulf, the surface silicate content is 30% higher than that of the deeper waters.

Original languageBritish English
Article numbere0276260
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
StatePublished - Oct 2022


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