Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 30 Issue 02

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Volume 30, No. 2
Pages 53 - 55


KAUST’s Red Sea Observing System

Burton H. Jones Yasser Kattan
First Paragraph

A combination of thermohaline circulation and monsoon-​modulated winds drive advection in the Red Sea. Biogeochemical processes are closely coupled with the physical dynamics of the sea, yet to date remain poorly resolved and understood. Given the Red Sea’s size (~2,000 km × 250 km), frequently occurring eddies can provide a mechanism for significant exchange between the open sea and its abundant coastal coral reef regions. Because no international waters exist within the Red Sea, and geopolitical restrictions allow only limited access, our most complete understanding of the Red Sea until recently has come from remote sensing and numerical modeling studies (e.g., Sofianos and Johns, 2002; Raitsos et al., 2013; Yao et al, 2014; Racault et al., 2015), although occasional ship expeditions have provided in situ observations with limited temporal and/or spatial coverage (e.g., Naqvi et al., 1986; Sofianos and Johns, 2007; Bower and Farrar, 2015; Kürten et al., 2016).


Jones, B.H., and Y. Kattan. 2017. KAUST’s Red Sea observing system. Oceanography 30(2):53–55, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.221.


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Kürten, B., A.M. Al-Aidaroos, S. Kürten, M.M. El-Sherbiny, R.P. Devassy, U. Struck, N. Zarokanellos, B.H. Jones, T. Hansen, G. Bruss, and U. Sommer. 2016. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of pelagic zooplankton elucidate ecohydrographic features in the oligotrophic Red Sea. Progress in Oceanography 140:69–90, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.11.003.

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Pearman, J.K., J. Ellis, X. Irigoien, Y.V.B. Sarma, B.H. Jones, and S. Carvalho. 2017. Microbial planktonic communities in the Red Sea: High levels of spatial and temporal variability shaped by nutrient availability and turbulence. Scientific Reports 7, 6611, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-06928-z.

Racault, M.-F., D.E. Raitsos, M.L. Berumen, R.J.W. Brewin, T. Platt, S. Sathyendranath, and I. Hoteit. 2015. Phytoplankton phenology indices in coral reef ecosystems: Application to ocean-color observations in the Red Sea. Remote Sensing of Environment 160:222–234, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2015.01.019.

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Sofianos, S.S., and W.E. Johns. 2002. An Oceanic General Circulation Model (OGCM) investigation of the Red Sea circulation: Part 1. Exchange between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 107(C11), 3196, https://doi.org/10.1029/2001jc001184.

Sofianos, S.S., and W.E. Johns. 2003. An Oceanic General Circulation Model (OGCM) investigation of the Red Sea circulation: Part 2. Three-dimensional circulation in the Red Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, 3066, https://doi.org/10.1029/2001JC001185.

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Sofianos, S., and W.E. Johns. 2015. Water mass formation, overturning circulation, and the exchange of the Red Sea with the adjacent basins. Pp. 343–353 in The Red Sea: The Formation, Morphology, Oceanography and Environment of a Young Ocean Basin. N.M.A. Rasul and I.C.F. Stewart, eds, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-45201-1_20.

Yao, F.C., I. Hoteit, L.J. Pratt, A.S. Bower, P. Zhai, A. Kohl, and G. Gopalakrishnan. 2014. Seasonal overturning circulation in the Red Sea: Part 1. Model validation and summer circulation. Journal of Geophysical Research 119(4):2,238–2,262, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013jc009004.

Zarokanellos, N.D., V.P. Papadopoulos, S.S. Sofianos, and B.H. Jones. 2017. Physical and biological characteristics of the winter-summer transition in the Central Red Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC012882.

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