A volcanic eruption in depth

Red Sea has witnessed another significant event of getting the water replenished in it in a much faster way than thought previously. The circulation of water is influenced by climatic conditions, sudden weather-related changes or events, etc. KAUST researchers have identified that the water ranging from 300 to 200 meters in the red sea is warmest and saltiest. The temperature here remains 20 degree Celsius and salinity is as high as 40.5 psu. While on an average this ranges less than what was measured in the red sea.

As per the research, the water in the red sea takes about 36 to 90 years to get replenished that means it is relatively stagnant, but the current speed of renewal exceeds what was estimated. The primary source of water replenishment for the red sea is northern Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba.  

Two scientists Ibrahim Hoteit and Fengchao Yao studied deep waters of the red sea. They are specialists in earth fluid modeling and oceanography respectively. When they compared the data of the red sea, with that of six other areas, evidence of the frequent change was found. The period of 20 years between 1982 & 2011 saw a change in the accepted notion. From the year 1982 to 2001, a rapid renewal of sea water was seen. It could be because of the volcanic eruptions of 1982 in El Chichon, Mexico; and that of 1991 at   Mount Pinatubo, Philippines. 

Volcanic eruptions can increase the temperature of the water as they release a tremendous amount of sulfate aerosols. These aerosols can absorb the sun’s rays for about two years. When the ocean tries to adjust for this warmth, western jet across the Atlantic ocean become stronger. With this, the wind flowing above the red sea become dry and cold.  

As per the open-ocean deep convection, when the surface temperature is cold, it triggers the warm water to rising and cold water to sink. It could be the phenomenon behind this change in the renewal of the red sea’s water. 

Hoteit and Yao discussed in their previous studies that this open-ocean deep convection formed the primary source of the replenishment of the Red Sea's deep water.  The flows of water, on the contrary, originate in the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. These two are secondary sources for replenishment of water. 

Organic matter which falls inside the sea also is a factor that affects the ecosystem beneath the layers of water. Minerals are abundant in the depths of the red sea, but they need to be explored and mined considering sustainability.