Anthropogenic nitrogen inputs and impacts on oceanic N2O fluxes in the northern Indian Ocean: The need for an integrated observation and modelling approach

Parvadha Suntharalingam, Lauren M. Zamora, Hermann W. Bange, Srinivas Bikkina, Erik Buitenhuis, Maria Kanakidou, Jean Francois Lamarque, Angela Landolfi, Laure Resplandy, Manmohan M. Sarin, Sybil Seitzinger, Arvind Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Anthropogenically-derived nitrogen input to the northern Indian Ocean has increased significantly in recent decades, based on both observational and model-derived estimates. This external nutrient source is supplied by atmospheric deposition and riverine fluxes, and has the potential to affect the vulnerable biogeochemical systems of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, influencing productivity and oceanic production of the greenhouse-gas nitrous-oxide (N2O). We summarize current estimates of this external nitrogen source to the northern Indian Ocean from observations and models, highlight implications for regional marine N2O emissions using model-based analyses, and make recommendations for measurement and model needs to improve current estimates and future predictions of this impact. Current observationally-derived estimates of deposition and riverine nitrogen inputs are limited by sparse measurements and uncertainties on accurate characterization of nitrogen species composition. Ocean model assessments of the impact of external nitrogen sources on regional marine N2O production in the northern Indian Ocean estimate potentially significant changes but also have large associated uncertainties. We recommend an integrated program of basin-wide measurements combined with high-resolution modeling and more detailed characterization of nitrogen-cycle process to address these uncertainties and improve current estimates and predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


  • Air-sea interaction
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Nitrous-oxide


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