The impacts of Persian Gulf water and ocean-atmosphere interactions on tropical cyclone intensification in the Arabian Sea

Majid Pourkerman, Nick Marriner, Sedigheh Amjadi, Razyeh Lak, Mohammadali Hamzeh, Gholamreza Mohammadpor, Hamid Lahijani, Morteza Tavakoli, Christophe Morhange, Majid Shah-Hosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last two decades, the number of tropical cyclone (TC) events in the Arabian Sea has increased dramatically. These events have led to severe human and economic damage in Oman, Iran and Pakistan. Within this context, Gonu, Phet and Shaheen were the Arabian Sea's most destructive TCs on record, leading to a total of 6.07 billion USD in damages and 159 fatalities. Previous studies have mainly focused on atmospheric, sea surface temperature (SST) and anthropogenic impacts of TC generation and intensification. By contrast, oceanographic currents, Persian Gulf water outflow and the role of ocean-atmospheric interactions on the distribution of outflow water into the Arabian Sea and their impacts on TC intensification, are poorly understood. In order to address this issue, we use historical TC records, satellite data, atmospheric and reanalyzed oceanographic data to shed new light on the relationship between large-scale atmospheric forcing and ocean currents on TC intensification in the Arabian Sea. The results demonstrate that pre-monsoon TCs mainly occurred during co-existing La Niña, cold Indian Ocean Basin Model (IOBM) and anomalous northern hemisphere circulations over the Persian Gulf. By contrast, post-monsoon TCs were generally generated during warming acceleration period. Poleward movement of the monsoon belt provided the required humidity and energy for TC generation and increased upwelling events. Water salinity and temperature have increased in the north and northwestern parts of the Arabian Sea following rising upwelling events and a decrease in Persian Gulf outflow water depth. Rapid TC intensification has increased noticeably since 2007 and >72 % of cyclones have reached category 3 or more. We find that the rate of SST rise in the Arabian Sea is higher than the other parts of the northern Indian Ocean since 1998. SST and salinity in the Arabian Sea have been controlled by Persian Gulf outflow water and oceanographic currents. TC intensity is controlled by warm and saline (>36.6 PSU) water distribution patterns, mediated by eddy and jet currents. Rapid intensification of pre-monsoon TCs occurred by tracking to the north and northwest, with most landfalls occurring during this period. Post-monsoon TCs generally affect the center and the southwest of the Arabian Sea. The risk of intensive TCs manifests an increasing trend since 2007, therefore education programs via international platforms such as the International Ocean Institute (IOI) and UNESCO are required for the countries most at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114553
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Arabian Sea
  • Eddy current
  • Natural hazard
  • Ocean-atmosphere interaction
  • SST
  • Tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography


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