Benthic and selected planktic foraminifera and stable isotope records were determined in a piston core from the Gulf of Aden, NW Arabian Sea that spans the last 530 ka. The benthic foraminifera were grouped into four principal assemblages using Q-mode Principal Component Analyses. Comparison of each of these assemblages with the fauna of the nearby regions enabled us to identify their specific environmental requirements as a function of variability in food supply and strength of the oxygen minimum zone and by that to use them as indicators of surface water productivity. The benthic foraminiferal productivity indicators coupled with the record of Globigerina bulloides, a planktic foraminifer known to be sensitive to productivity changes in the region, all indicate higher productivity during glacial intervals and productivity similar to present or even reduced during interglacial stages. This trend is opposite to the productivity pattern related to the SW summer monsoon of the Arabian Sea and indicates the role of the NE winter monsoon on the productivity of the Gulf of Aden. A period of exceptionally enhanced productivity is recognized in the Gulf of Aden region between ~60 and 13 kyr indicating the intensification of the NE winter monsoon to its maximal activity. Contemporaneous indication of increased productivity in other parts of the Arabian Sea, unexplained so far by the SW summer monsoon variability, might be related to the intensification of the NE winter monsoon. Another prominent event of high productivity, second in its extent to the last glacial productivity event is recognized between 430 and 460 kyr. These two events seem to correspond to periods of similar orbital positioning of rather low precession (and eccentricity) amplitude for a relatively long period. Glacial boundary conditions seem to control to a large extent the NE winter monsoon variability as also indicated by the dominance of the 100 ka cycle in the investigated time series. Secondary in their importance are the 23 and 41 ka cycles which seem also to contribute to the NE monsoonal variability. Following the identification of productivity events related to the NE winter monsoon in the Gulf of Aden, it is possible now to extend this observation to other parts of the Arabian Sea and consider the contribution of this monsoonal system to the productivity fluctuations preserved in the sedimentary records. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the master, crew and scientists aboard R/V Meteor (M5/2) for their help and assistance. We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance received from Y. Katz and R. Bentov (Geological Survey, Jerusalem, Israel) and B. Hiller (University of Tübingen, Germany) for unpublished information on planktic foraminiferal counts. The reviews of G.J. Reichart and an anonymous reviewer are highly appreciated. The research was supported by a grant from the G.I.F., the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (He 697/13 and Me 267/28). The faunal and stable isotope data as well as the PC loadings and scores of core M5/KL 15 are available electronically at PANGAEA, network for geological and environmental data (URL: http://www.pangaea.de/Institutes/PALTUEB/).
- Benthic foraminifera
- Gulf of Aden
- NE monsoon
- NW Indian Ocean