'Cyclone Phyan may have benefited marine life'

`Cyclone Phyan may have benefited marine life` Panaji: Cyclone Phyan which hit the Konkan-Goa shore in 2009 and had caused large-scale destruction may have benefited the marine life in Arabian Sea, say researchers.

A recently-published study by researchers at Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) on the impact of Phyan shows that it gave a boost to marine life.

"Cyclones are known for destruction of life and property on the land, but they often augment life in the ocean through upward pumping of nutrients," according to the study by scientists Byju P and Prasannakumar S.

Cyclones lead to thriving marine life in upper layers of the sea, they claim.

The researchers studied Phyan's impact on the ocean biology and carbon dioxide exchange over the Eastern Arabian Sea, using remote-sensing data sets.

The surface temperatures cooled down immediately after the cyclone hit. Subsequently, the peak chlorophyll-a, which is essential for photosynthesis, and 'Net Primary Production' (NPP) of organic compounds from atmospheric or aquatic carbon-dioxide (CO2) showed increase.

"The chlorophyll-a showed an average enhancement of 0.5 mg per cubic metre, while NPP showed a two-fold increase," the researchers say.

Statistics show that only seven percent of tropical storms form in the north Indian Ocean (Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea), and frequency is less in the Arabian Sea.

But though the number is small, cyclones cause severe damage and misery to the people living in the low-lying coastal plains of Asia, they say.