Skip to main content Accessibility help

Inconsistent change in surface hydrography of the eastern Arabian Sea during the last four glacial–interglacial intervals

  • Rajeev Saraswat (a1), S. R. Kurtarkar (a1), R. Yadav (a1), A. Mackensen (a2), D. P. Singh (a1), S. Bhadra (a1), A. D. Singh (a3), M. Tiwari (a4), S. P. Prabhukeluskar (a1), S. R. Bandodkar (a1), D. K. Pandey (a4), P. D. Clift (a5), D. K. Kulhanek (a6), K. Bhishekar (a1) and S. Nair (a1)...


The eastern Arabian Sea is influenced by both the advection of upwelled water from the western Arabian Sea and winter convective mixing. Therefore, sediments collected from the eastern Arabian Sea can help to understand the long-term seasonal hydrographic changes. We used the planktonic foraminifera census and stable isotopic ratio (δ18O) from sediments drilled during the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 355 to reconstruct surface hydrographic changes in the eastern Arabian Sea during the last 350 kyr. The increased abundance of Globigerina bulloides suggests enhanced advection of upwelled water during the latter half of MIS7 and the beginning of MIS6, as a result of a strengthened summer monsoon. A large drop in upwelling and/or advection of upwelled water from the western Arabian Sea is inferred during the subsequent interval of MIS6, based on the rare presence of G. bulloides. The comparable relative abundance of Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, G. bulloides and Globigerinoides ruber suggests that during the early part of MIS5, hydrographic conditions were similar to today. The upwelling decreased and winter convection increased with the progress of the glacial interval. A good coherence between planktonic foraminiferal assemblage-based monsoon stacks from both the eastern and western Arabian Sea suggests a coeval response of the entire northern Arabian Sea to the glacial–interglacial changes. The glacial–interglacial difference in δ18Osw-ivc was at a maximum with 4–5 psu change in salinity during Termination 2 and 3, and a minimum during Termination 4. The significantly reduced regional contribution to the glacial–interglacial change in δ18Osw-ivc during Termination 4 suggests a lesser change in the monsoon.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Rajeev Saraswat, Email:


Hide All
Anand, P, Kroon, D, Singh, AD, Ganeshram, R, Ganssen, G and Elderfield, H (2008) Coupled sea surface temperature–seawater δ18O reconstructions in the Arabian Sea at the millennial scale for the last 35 ka. Paleoceanography 23, PA4207. doi: 10.1029/2007PA001564.
Auras-Schudnagies, A, Kroon, D, Ganssen, GM, Hemleben, C and Van Hinte, JE (1989) Biogeographic evidence from planktic foraminifers and pteropods for Red Sea anti-monsoonal surface currents. Deep-Sea Research 10, 1515–33.
Banakar, VK, Mahesh, BS, Burr, G and Chodankar, AR (2010) Climatology of the Eastern Arabian Sea during the last glacial cycle reconstructed from paired measurement of foraminiferal δ18O and Mg/Ca. Quaternary Research 73, 535–40.
Banse, K (1984) Overview of the hydrography and associated biological phenomena in the Arabian Sea off Pakistan. In Marine Geology and Oceanography of Arabian Sea and Coastal Pakistan (eds Haq, BU and Milliman, JD), pp. 271303. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Banse, K and McClain, CR (1986) Satellite‐observed winter blooms of phytoplankton in the Arabian Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 34, 201–11.
, AWH and Hutson, WH (1977) Ecology of planktonic foraminifera and biogeographic patterns of life and fossil assemblages in the Indian Ocean. Micropaleontology 23, 369414.
, AWH and Tolderlund, DS (1971) Distribution and ecology of living planktonic foraminifera in surface waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In The Micropaleontology of Oceans (eds Funnel, BM and Riedel, WR), pp. 105–49. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bemis, BE, Spero, HJ, Bijma, J and Lea, DW (1998) Reevaluation of the oxygen isotopic composition of planktonic foraminifera: experimental results and revised paleotemperature equations. Paleoceanography 13, 150–60.
Bijma, J and Hemleben, C (1994) Population dynamics of the planktic foraminifer Globigerinoides sacculifer (Brady) from the central Red Sea. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 41, 485510.
Caley, T, Malaizé, B, Zaragosi, S, Rossignol, L, Bourget, J, Eynaud, F, Martinez, P, Giraudeau, J, Charlier, K and Ellouz-Zimmermann, N (2011) New Arabian Sea records help decipher orbital timing of Indo-Asian monsoon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 308, 433–44.
Chodankar, AR, Banakar, VK and Oba, T (2005) Past 100 ky surface salinity-gradient response in the Eastern Arabian Sea to the summer monsoon variation recorded by δ18O of G. sacculifer . Global and Planetary Change 47, 135–42.
Clemens, SC, Holbourn, A, Kubota, Y, Lee, KE, Liu, Z, Chen, G, Nelson, A and Fox-Kemper, B (2018) Precession-band variance missing from East Asian monsoon runoff. Nature Communications 9, 3364. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05814-0.
Clemens, SC and Prell, WL (2003) A 350,000 year summer‐monsoon multi‐proxy stack from the Owen Ridge, northern Arabian Sea. Marine Geology 201, 3551.
Clemens, S, Prell, WL, Murray, D, Shimmield, GB and Weedon, GP (1991) Forcing mechanisms of the Indian Ocean monsoon. Nature 353, 720–5.
Clemens, SC, Prell, WL and Sun, Y (2010) Orbital‐scale timing and mechanisms driving Late Pleistocene Indo‐Asian summer monsoons: reinterpreting cave speleothem δ18O. Paleoceanography 25, PA4207. doi: 10.1029/2010PA001926.
Clift, PD and Plumb, RA (2008) The Asian Monsoon: Causes, History and Effects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 270 pp.
Curry, WB, Ostermann, DR, Gupta, MVS and Ittekkot, V (1992) Foraminiferal production and monsoonal upwelling in the Arabian Sea: evidence from sediment traps. In Upwelling Systems: Evolution Since the Early Miocene (eds Summerhays, CP, Prell, WL and Emeis, KC), pp. 93106. London, UK: The Geological Society.
Delaygue, G, Bard, E, Rollion, C, Jouzel, J, Stievenard, M, Duplessy, J-C and Ganssen, G (2001) Oxygen isotope/salinity relationship in the northern Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 4565–74.
Fraile, I, Schulz, M, Mulitza, S, Merkel, U, Prange, M and Paul, A (2009) Modeling the seasonal distribution of planktonic foraminifera during the Last Glacial Maximum. Paleoceanography 24, PA2216. doi: 10.1029/2008PA001686.
Gadgil, S (2003) The Indian monsoon and its variability. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 31, 429–67.
Gomes, HR, Goes, JI, Matondkar, SGP, Buskey, EJ, Basu, S, Parab, S and Thoppil, P (2014) Massive outbreaks of Noctiluca scintillans blooms in the Arabian Sea due to spread of hypoxia. Nature Communications 5, 4862. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5862.
Govil, P and Naidu, PD (2010) Evaporation‐precipitation changes in the eastern Arabian Sea for the last 68 ka: implications on monsoon variability. Paleoceanography 25, PA1210. doi: 10.1029/2008PA001687.
Gupta, AK, Anderson, DM and Overpeck, JT (2003) Abrupt changes in the Asian Southwest monsoon during the Holocene and their links to the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature 421, 354–7.
Gupta, H and Chakrapani, G (2005) Temporal and spatial variations in water flow and sediment load in Narmada River Basin, India: natural and man-made factors. Environmental Geology 48, 579–89.
Gupta, AK, Mohan, K, Sarkar, S, Clemens, SC, Ravindra, R and Uttam, RK (2011) East–west similarities and differences in the surface and deep northern Arabian Sea records during the past 21 Kyr. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 301, 7585.
Holloway, MD, Sime, LC, Singarayer, JS, Tindall, JC and Valdes, PJ (2016) Reconstructing paleosalinity from δ18O: coupled model simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum, Last Interglacial and Late Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 131, 350–64.
Izumo, T, Montegut, CD, Luo, JJ, Behera, SK, Masson, S and Yamagata, T (2008) The role of the western Arabian Sea upwelling in Indian Monsoon rainfall variability. Journal of Climate 21, 5603–23.
Karim, A and Veizer, J (2002) Water balance of the Indus River Basin and moisture source in the Karakoram and western Himalayas: implications from hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in river water. Journal of Geophysical Research 107, 4362. doi: 10.1029/2000JD000253.
Kroon, D (1988) Distribution of extant planktic foraminiferal assemblages in Red Sea and northern Indian Ocean surface waters. In Planktonic Foraminifers as Tracers of Ocean-Climate History (eds Brummer, GA and Kroon, D), pp. 229–67. Amsterdam: Free University Press.
Kroon, D, Steens, T and Troelstra, SR (1991) Onset of monsoonal related upwelling in the western Arabian Sea as revealed by planktonic foraminifers. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, vol. 117 (eds Prell, WL, Niitsuma, N, Emeis, K-C, Al-Sulaiman, ZK, Al-Tobbah, ANK, Anderson, DM, Barnes, RO, Bilak, RA, Bloemendal, J, Bray, CJ, Busch, WH, Clemens, SC, de Menocal, P, Debrabant, P, Hayashida, A, Hermelin, JOR, Jarrard, RD, Krissek, LA, Kroon, D, Murray, DW, Nigrini, CA, Pedersen, TF, Ricken, W, Shimmield, GB, Spaulding, SA, Takayama, T, ten Haven, HL and Weedon, GP), pp. 257−63. College Station, Texas.
Kudrass, HR, Hofmann, A, Doose, H, Emeis, K and Erlenkeuser, H (2001) Modulation and amplification of climatic changes in the Northern Hemisphere by the Indian summer monsoon during the past 80 k.y. Geology 29, 63–6
Levin, LA, Gage, JD, Martin, C and Lamont, PA (2000) Macrobenthic community structure within and beneath the oxygen minimum zone, NW Arabian Sea. Deep Sea Research Part II: Tropical Studies in Oceanography 47, 189226.
Lisiecki, L and Raymo, M (2005) A Pliocene–Pleistocene stack of 57 globally distributed benthic δ18O records. Paleoceanography 20, PA1003. doi: 10.1029/2004PA001071.
Locarnini, RA, Mishonov, AV, Antonov, JI, Boyer, TP, Garcia, HE, Baranova, OK, Zweng, MM, Paver, CR, Reagan, JR, Johnson, DR, Hamilton, M and Seidov, D (2013) World Ocean Atlas 2013, Volume 1: Temperature (ed. Levitus, S; technical ed. Mishonov, A). NOAA Atlas NESDIS 73. Silver Spring, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 40 pp.
Madhupratap, M, Prasannakumar, S, Bhattathiri, PMA, Kumar, MD, Raghukumar, S, Nair, KKC and Ramaiah, N (1996) Mechanism of the biological response to winter cooling in the northeastern Arabian Sea. Nature 384, 549–52.
Naidu, PD and Malmgren, BA (1996) A high‐resolution record of late Quaternary upwelling along the Oman Margin, Arabian Sea based on planktonic foraminifera. Paleoceanography 11, 129–40.
Naik, SS, Naidu, PD, Foster, GL and Martínez-Botí, MA (2015) Tracing the strength of the southwest monsoon using boron isotopes in the eastern Arabian Sea. Geophysical Research Letters 42, 1450–8.
Naik, DK, Saraswat, R, Lea, DW, Kurtarkar, SR and Mackensen, A (2017) Last glacial-interglacial productivity and associated changes in the eastern Arabian Sea. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 483, 147–56.
Naqvi, SWA (1991) Geographical extent of denitrification in the Arabian Sea in relation to some physical processes. Oceanologica Acta 14, 281–90.
Nigam, R, Prasad, V, Saraswat, R, Garg, R, Mazumder, A and Henriques, PJ (2009) Late Holocene changes in hypoxia off the west coast of India: micropaleontological evidences. Current Science 96, 708–13.
Pandey, DK, Clift, PD, Kulhanek, DK, Andò, S, Bendle, JAP, Bratenkov, S, Griffith, EM, Gurumurthy, GP, Hahn, A, Iwai, M, Khim, B-K, Kumar, A, Kumar, AG, Liddy, HM, Lu, H, Lyle, MW, Mishra, R, Radhakrishna, T, Routledge, CM, Saraswat, R, Saxena, R, Scardia, G, Sharma, GK, Singh, AD, Steinke, S, Suzuki, K, Tauxe, L, Tiwari, M, Xu, Z and Yu, Z (2016) Site U1457. In Arabian Sea Monsoon. Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, vol. 355 (eds Pandey, DK, Clift, PD, Kulhanek, DK and The Expedition 355 Scientists), 49 pp. College Station, Texas.
Prasanna Kumar, S, Ramaiah, N, Gauns, M, Sarma, VVSS, Muraleedharan, PM, Raghukumar, S, Dileep Kumar, M and Madhupratap, M (2001) Physical forcing of biological productivity in the Northern Arabian Sea during the Northeast Monsoon. Deep Sea Research Part II: Tropical Studies in Oceanography 48, 1115–26.
Prell, WL and Curry, WB (1981) Faunal and isotopic indices of monsoonal upwelling: western Arabian Sea. Oceanologica Acta 4, 91–8.
Routledge, CM, Kulhanek, DK, Tauxe, L, Scardia, G, Singh, AD, Steinke, S, Griffith, EM and Saraswat, R (2019) A revised chronostratigraphic framework for International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 355 sites in Laxmi Basin, eastern Arabian Sea. Geological Magazine, published online 10 April 2019. doi: 10.1017/S0016756819000104.
Roxy, MK, Modi, A, Murtugudde, R, Valsala, V, Panickal, S, Prasanna Kumar, S, Ravichandran, M, Vichi, M and Lévy, M (2016) A reduction in marine primary productivity driven by rapid warming over the tropical Indian Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 43, 826–33.
Saraswat, R, Lea, DW, Nigam, R, Mackensen, A and Naik, DK (2013) Deglaciation in the tropical Indian Ocean driven by interplay between the regional monsoon and global teleconnections. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 375, 166–75.
Saraswat, R, Nigam, R, Mackensen, A and Weldeab, S (2012) Linkage between seasonal insolation gradient in the tropical northern hemisphere and the sea surface salinity of the equatorial Indian Ocean during the last glacial period. Acta Geologica Sinica 86, 801–11.
Saraswat, R, Nigam, R, Weldeab, S, Mackensen, A and Naidu, PD (2005) A first look at past sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Indian Ocean from Mg/Ca in foraminifera. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L24605. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024093.
Schulz, H, von Rad, U and Erlenkeuser, H (1998) Correlation between Arabian Sea and Greenland climate oscillations of past 110000 years. Nature 393, 54–7.
Seears, HA, Darling, KF and Wade, CM (2012) Ecological partitioning and diversity in tropical planktonic foraminifera. BMC Evolutionary Biology 12, 54. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-12-54.
Shankar, D, Vinayachandran, PN and Unnikrishnan, AS (2002) The monsoon currents in the north Indian Ocean. Progress in Oceanography 52, 63120.
Singh, AD, Jung, SJA, Darling, K, Ganeshram, R, Ivanochko, T and Kroon, D (2011) Productivity collapses in the Arabian Sea during glacial cold phases. Paleoceanography 26, PA3210. doi: 10.1029/2009PA001923.
Sirocko, F, Garbe-Schönberg, D, McIntyre, A and Molfino, B (1996) Teleconnections between the subtropical monsoons and high latitude climates during the last deglaciation. Science 272, 526–9.
Tachikawa, K, Sépulcre, S, Toyofuku, T and Bard, E (2008) Assessing influence of diagenetic carbonate dissolution on planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca in the southeastern Arabian Sea over the past 450 ka: comparison between Globigerinoides ruber and Globigerinoides sacculifer . Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 9, Q04037. doi: 10.1029/2007GC001904.
Thompson, PR, , AWH, Duplessy, J-C and Shackleton, NJ (1979) Disappearance of pink-pigmented Globigerinoides ruber at 120,000 yr BP in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Nature 280, 554–8.
Tiwari, M, Ramesh, R, Somayajulu, BLK, Jull, AJT and Burr, GS (2005) Early deglacial (∼19–17 ka) strengthening of the northeast monsoon. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L19712. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024070.
Tripathi, S, Tiwari, M, Lee, J, Khim, B-K, Pandey, DK, Clift, PD, Kulhanek, DK, Ando, S, Bendle, JAP, Aharonovich, S, Griffith, EM, Gurumurthy, GP, Hahn, A, Iwai, M, Kumar, A, Kumar, AG, Liddy, HM, Lu, H, Lyle, MW, Mishra, R, Radhakrishna, T, Routledge, CM, Saraswat, R, Saxena, R, Scardia, G, Sharma, GK, Singh, AD, Steinke, S, Suzuki, K, Tauxe, L, Xu, Z and Yu, Z (2017) First evidence of denitrification vis-a-vis monsoon in the Arabian Sea since late Miocene. Scientific Reports 7, 43056, doi: 10.1038/srep43056.
Waelbroeck, C, Labeyrie, L, Michel, E, Duplessy, J-C, McManus, JF, Lambeck, K, Balbon, E and Labracherie, M (2002) Sea-level and deep water temperature changes derived from benthic foraminifera isotopic records. Quaternary Science Reviews 21, 295305.
Webster, PJ, Magaña, V, Palmer, T, Shukla, J, Tomas, R, Yanai, M and Yasunari, T (1998) Monsoon: processes, predictability, and the prospects for prediction. Journal of Geophysical Research 103, 14451–510.
Ziegler, M, Lourens, LJ, Tuenter, E and Reichart, G‐J (2010) High Arabian Sea productivity conditions during MIS 13 – odd monsoon event or intensified overturning circulation at the end of the mid‐Pleistocene transition? Climate of the Past 6, 6376.
Zweng, MM, Reagan, JR, Antonov, JI, Locarnini, RA, Mishonov, AV, Boyer, TP, Garcia, HE, Baranova, OK, Johnson, DR, Seidov, D and Biddle, MM (2013) World Ocean Atlas 2013, Volume 2: Salinity (ed. Levitus, S; technical ed. Mishonov, A). NOAA Atlas NESDIS 74. Silver Spring, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 39 pp.


Inconsistent change in surface hydrography of the eastern Arabian Sea during the last four glacial–interglacial intervals

  • Rajeev Saraswat (a1), S. R. Kurtarkar (a1), R. Yadav (a1), A. Mackensen (a2), D. P. Singh (a1), S. Bhadra (a1), A. D. Singh (a3), M. Tiwari (a4), S. P. Prabhukeluskar (a1), S. R. Bandodkar (a1), D. K. Pandey (a4), P. D. Clift (a5), D. K. Kulhanek (a6), K. Bhishekar (a1) and S. Nair (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed