Straight Talk
Vimal Karani
Dr. Vimal Karani is an Assistant Professor in Nutrigenetics
at the University of Reading, UK. His primary research interests focus on the investigation of gene-nutrient interactions
on metabolic- and cardiovascular disease- related outcomes
using combined approaches from genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics and molecular biology. His long term goal is
to use the findings from observational studies to carry out human intervention studies aimed at developing industrial collaborations to facilitate ‘Personalized Nutrition’. Dr. Vimal
visited SQU as part of his PhD student’s research program,
where he will be involved in conducting a population based
study on genes and dietary patterns among Omanis with a
view towards preventing obesity in Oman.
Horizon: Could you explain the research project that your PhD student is
going to carry out in Oman?
Dr. Vimal: It comes under the relatively new branch of medical science
called nutrigenetics which aims to identify genetic susceptibility to chronic
diseases and genetic variation in the effects of nutrient intake on the genome.
My student at the University of Reading, who is an Omani, plans to conduct
a population based study which will look at the genetic determinants and
dietary patterns of the Omani people. By coordinating with 23 health centers
in different parts of Oman and students at the SQU, we plan to collect genetic
data of 1500 Omani people and look at the prevalence of obesity, overweight
susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The basic idea
is to examine the gene-diet interactions. The main objective of the study is
to develop public health strategies for implementing personalized nutrition
program in Oman. By assessing the genetic data and dietary patterns, dieticians will be in a better position to advice the people if modifying the diet can
help overcome various health conditions such as obesity and overweight and
their consequences. The study will examine the possibility of modifying the
eating habits based on the genetic information collected.
Horizon: What different data collection methods will be used in this study?
Dr. Vimal: The identification of the necessary genotype is carried out by
means of a blood analysis. Subsequently, the DNA is analyzed in different
ways. The goal of the study is to identify if there are genes that make individuals more susceptible to obesity and obesity-related diseases in Oman. In
the long run, nutrigenetics should allow nutritionists and physicians to individualize health and diet recommendations. Consequently, preventive medicine, diagnostics and therapies could be optimized. We hope that in the near
future people will be able to receive personalized nutrition recommendations
based on their genetic makeup to prevent chronic illnesses down the road
such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, known as polygenic diseases.
Horizon: What is your primary assessment of the dietary pattern among
Dr. Vimal: There should be a balance between the amount of food being
consumed by an individual and the amount of energy released by the body
through physical activities. During my stay in Oman for three to four days,
I noticed that there is tendency for high consumption of carbohydrates and
protein among the Omani people. The amount of physical activity is less as
compared to the high intake of carbohydrate and protein rich food. I feel that
there is a lack of awareness among the people on the risks associated with
unbalanced dietary habits and lack of physical activities.
Horizon: Could you explain the long term usefulness collecting genetic data
of Omani population and your nutrigenetics study in Oman?
Dr. Vimal: Nutrigenetics, which is otherwise calledor nutritional genetics, is
expected to pave the way towards preventive medicine and improved public
health. Nutrigenetic testing in the Omani population will offer insights into
an individual’s risk for disease, and provide data that allows dietitians to
personalize nutrition interventions. The potential for this field of research
is huge, but the full potential may not be realized for a very long time because of the complexity of the gene-lifestyle interactions on obesity. While
the potential clinical applications of nutritional genetics are exciting, it is very
important to realize that nutrigenetic analysis will not give a yes or no answer. Rather, the testing will give information on who is more or less likely to
develop obesity, or who is more or less likely to benefit from a particular nutrition intervention. However, this information will be useful for the Omani
population to modify their diet depending on their genetic make-up.
Horizon: Now you are associating with the Food Science and Nutrition De-
partment of Sultan Qaboos University for this study? Are you looking for
wider collaboration with any of the national authorities in Oman?
Dr. Vimal: Although the collaboration is with the department of Food Science and Nutrition, the study is basically funded by the Ministry of Higher
Education. Also, the study is supported by the Ministry of health, which is
involved in the ethical approval of research activities in Oman. Furthermore,
we are intending to perform genome-wide scans for identifying novel genes
for obesity in the Omani population, for which a grant application will be
submitted to The Oman Research Council (TRC) in 2015/2016. Given that
this will be the first large-scale genetic study that is being conducted in 23
health centers and SQU and also the first to implement personalized nutrition program, we would certainly need support from other national authorities in Oman.
10 January 2015
Technologies for Minimally Processed Foods
Tropical Cyclones and Biological Productivity of the Ocean
Mind Over Matter
SQU, Dutch Institute Explore Ties
News Update
SQU Invention to
Reduce Oil
Recovery Costs
Department of Public
Relations and Information
Sultan Qaboos University
Issue 304
View Point
A Balanced Approach
English has been well accepted in Oman’s social, economic and educational spheres. English, as a global language, has acquired a momentum and
vitality of its own and has helped in promoting the Omani culture in many
ways. The people of this country has no elevated sense of fear that globalization and the spread of English use might endanger Omani cultural
identity. Omani students learn English language as it is a school subject
and is needed in higher education. Learning English helps students to get
better grades in school and securing good employment after graduation.
Mohamed Salem Al Ghailani
Editorial Supervision
Santhosh Muthalath
Senior Editor
Sara Al Gheilani
Nasebah Al Muharrami
Ahlam Al Wahaibi
Design & Layout
Photography Dept., CET
Salim Al Sudairi
A research has found that equipping Omani women with English fosters
their sense of identity and affords them a feeling of freedom and confidence. Omani government and policy makers have supported the use of
English in different domains due to the realization that English is an essential tool for the advancement of the country and its integration with the
rest of the world. Now English language has become a medium to promote
Oman and its culture by promoting intercultural communication between
Omanis and the rest of the world.
The widespread use of English language has played a key role in transcending Omani locality and moving towards universality while maintaining its unique cultural identity. As Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al-Mahrooqi
and Dr. Victoria Tuzlukova, English language researchers at SQU, rightly
point out in their book chapter “Bringing the Global and the Local Together
Through English in Oman”, a process of ‘glocalization’ has taken place
in Oman, and English has helped in the process of domesticating what is
foreign to the local taste.
Oman is also taking part in a regionalization process by consolidating its
relationships with other Gulf countries that are dependent to a great extent
on foreign labor, a fact that calls for the use of English since it is the language of international communication. English has helped in promoting
the country worldwide. The presence of foreign labor force, promotion of
tourism, and higher studies abroad, all call for the use of English language
as the second language in Oman after the mother tongue Arabic. However,
some experts are concerned about the rise of English as a lingua franca
throughout the Arab world and the consequent decline of Arabic. In this
context we should tell our students not to excommunicate from our own
language and culture.
Horizon invites contributions from SQU members of staff and faculty. Contributions in the form of
articles, news, travelogues, stories of unique and interesting experiences, encounters, etc., are welcome. Contributions may be edited for the sake of clarity and length. Please send your contributions
to [email protected] preferably, as MSWord attachments. Authors will be suitably credited.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles published in this newsletter are those of the authors
and are not to be construed as the official views of the publication. Horizon is published three times a
month by the Department of Public Relations and Information, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 50,
P.C. 123, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Phone: +968 24141045
E-mail: [email protected]
10 January 2015
Fax: +968 24413 391
Technologies for Minimally
Processed Foods
Springer, New York, recently brought out a book titled “Minimally
Processed Foods: Technologies for Safety, Quality and Convenience”
co-edited by Prof. Shafiur Rahman from the Department of Food Science & Nutrition, College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Sultan
Qaboos University, and Dr. Wasim Siddiqui from Bihar Agricultural
University, India. This is the ninth book of Prof. Shafiur Rahman,
who has extensive research and teaching experience in food processing and related fields.
Dr. Wasim Siddiqui
Prof. Shafiur Rahman
decades, consumers want fresh like foods with nutritive values and the preferred sensory attributes such
as ethnic flavor, odor, flavor, texture and taste. In order to address these demands, minimally processed
foods (i.e. minimum preparation required), such as
fresh-cut, ready-to-serve, ready-to-eat, ready-tocook, cook-chill, cook-freeze and part-baked, are being introduced in the market. The main advantages
of these meals are that they are easy and quick to
prepare, healthy and possess ethnic flavors with varied shelf-life. The convenience of microwaves in the
kitchen has resulted in the popularity of these types
of products. This new book addresses all aspects of
minimally processed foods first time”.
According to Prof. Rahman, the safety and efficacy
of minimal food processing depends on the use of
novel preservation technologies. “This book first examines what is meant by minimally processed food,
including fresh-cut, cook-chill, ready-to-eat meat and
part-baked products. It then explores the technologies or methods to produce quality products in terms
of safety and nutrition, including edible coating,
natural preservatives (antimicrobial, flavor enhancer,
anti-browning), advanced packaging (active, antimicrobial, and modified or controlled atmosphere)
and selected non-thermal techniques (high pressure,
pulsed electric field, ultrasound, light). Preservation
of food is crucial to achieve a secure and safe global
food supply with the desired sensory quality. In addition, the increasing consumer demand for safe,
ready-to-serve, ready-to-eat-cook products with minimal chemical preservatives has raised expectations.
However, foods minimally processed, such as freshcut fruits and vegetables, cook-chill and half-baked
foods, are delicate products that require special care
in preparation, processing, storage and handling. As
a result, new technologies to develop minimally processed foods have aggressively advanced”, he added.
The book contains 12 chapters and the first chapter
determines/describes the scope of the minimally
processed foods and available new technologies or
methods to produce quality products in terms of
safety and nutrition. Chapter 2 presents hurdle concepts in food preservation and processing.
Chapter 3 has devoted to basic principles and methods of packaging required for minimally processed
foods. Chapters 4 and 5 are well versed with important operations (i.e., washing, peeling, and cutting)
and technologies (traditional and novel) involved
in manufacturing of plant-based fresh-cut products.
Chapter 6 concisely describes the trends, convenience, and safety issues of ready meals. Three chapters
7 – 9 are dedicated to processing, quality, and storage
issues of these products. Nowadays, the production
and processing of meat and fish products without
compromising safety and quality is a challenge. The
chapters 10 and 11 deal with various conventional
and latest minimal processing approaches used in
meat and seafood products. Finally, the chapter 12
discusses the important issues of minimal processing
in terms of the sustainability and challenges along
with remedial measures to preserve the quality and
safety of minimally processed foods.
Commenting on the latest book, Prof. Rahman said: “Earlier foods
are usually prepared at home in the kitchen. Industrialization of the
society has introduced the diversified concepts of restaurants since
people don’t have enough time to prepare their meals for families
or social gatherings. This trend was followed by take-away shops
that sold fast foods (such as sandwiches and burgers). Over the past
The editors are confident that this book will prove to
be a standard reference work for the food industry in
developing minimally processed foods. The information can be used to extend the shelf life by retaining
safety as well as nutritional and sensory quality. The
editors would appreciate receiving new information
and comments to assist in the future development of
the next edition.
10 January 2015
News Round Up
“Cooperation Day” Focuses on Field Training
In order to boost cooperation with various ministries, government bodies
and private sector organizations, and streamline training opportunities for
students in these organizations, Sultan Qaboos University, today organized
“Cooperation Day” under the patronage of H.H. Sayyidah Dr. Mona bint
Fahad Al Said, SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation. The event carried the theme “field training, a partnership between the
university and government and private sector institutions”. Senior officials
from various government and private organizations, and academicians responsible for training and community services at various colleges of the
university participated in various panel discussions organized as part of
the “Cooperation Day”.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mona Al Said, said that SQU was keen to
foster cooperation with the government institutions and the private sector
to achieve one of the significant objectives of this university, i.e., training its
graduates and preparing them for the labor market. “We thank you for your
efforts and cooperation in providing an appropriate training environment
for our students and preparing them for the labor market. We look forward,
at the same time, that our meeting today will proactively initiate a new beginning of cooperation, adding to your esteemed efforts in supporting our
students”, she said.
The Assistant Vice Chancellor called upon the participants to discuss the
challenges and difficulties that may accompany the training programs for
the students, in addition to the challenges and observations that the officials
would like to share from their direct involvement in training our students.
“We also wish to discuss the possibility of providing more training opportunities and adopting an effective strategy for training the university students
based on your previous experiences”. Elaborating on teaching and research
at SQU, Dr. Mona Al Said SQU is home to more than 18000 students, more
than 16000 are in the undergraduate level, divided into 80 Bachelor Programs, and 4 Diploma Programs. “It is also home to more than 1200 students at the postgraduate level, divided into 70 seventy Master Programs
and 29 Doctoral Programs. The number of approved research projects at the
university reached more than 1800, which are funded with approximately
50 million Omani Rials”, she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Mohammed Ahmed Al Riyami, Senior Manager,
HR-Career Planning at Omantel, said that training of university and college
students poses many challenges that are not limited to the educational institutions but also include sectors that train these students. “One of the biggest
challenges that the private sector faces is the growing demand of training
students in a short period which is during the summer break. This challenge can possibly affect the quality of training provided to these students
because of the large number of trainees who seek training opportunities at
the same time and in the same place”, he said. The program included three
panel discussions led by officials from the private sector and academicians
from various colleges at SQU who look after student training.
First PhD Thesis on Harmonic Analysis in Oman
Khadija Al Balushi, a doctoral graduate
from the Department of Mathematics and
Statistics at the College of Science, has generated the first PhD thesis on harmonic
analysis in Oman. The thesis titled “Integral operators with homogeneous kernels”
deals with the boundedness of various
types of integral operators with homogeneous kernels. Integral operators with homogeneous kernels are important part of harmonic analysis. There applications spread
over many branches of mathematics and
related fields such as partial differential
equations, complex analysis and potential
theory. During the last 15 years, a significant development of the theory of
integral operators with homogeneous kernels has occurred. The presence
of rough kernels and the type of singularities are among the main features
of this theory.
A significant part of this development has been achieved by Prof. Ahmad
Al-Salman, the supervisor of the thesis. Al-Salman is one of the well known
experts in this subject. In her thesis, Khadija Al Balushi has made significant contributions. As a consequence of her hard work, she could prove
many results. In particular, she proved the boundedness of certain classes
of singular integral operators whose kernels satisfying Grafakos-Stefanov
10 January 2015
conditions. She established the boundedness results for singular integral
operators along surfaces of revolutions determined by certain polynomial
mappings and flat curves. Also, she discussed the boundedness of maximal functions that are related to singular integral operators which carry
oscillatory factors in their kernels.
The Marcinkiewicz integral operators also appeared in her work. However, she extends a recent result given by AL-Salman in 2012 to the case when
the operators are associated to the surfaces determined by functions satisfying certain growth conditions and kernels satisfy Grafakos and Stefanov
conditions. In addition, Khadija has considered parametric Marcinkiewicz
integral operator on the product spaces. The obtained results extend and
improve some earlier results established under Grafakos-Stefanov conditions.
In conclusion, the results obtained in the thesis are original. It is worth
noticing here that some of the obtained results have been already cited by
other mathematicians. This definitely, shows the importance and significance of the obtained results. In fact, they pave the way for further study
in this area. The study carried out by Dr. Khadija Al Balushi is unique in
the Sultanate of Oman. It is the first Ph.D thesis in the subject of harmonic
analysis in Oman. The many problems discussed in the thesis open the
door for future research by other mathematicians in Oman as well as in the
mathematical community.
News Update
SQU, Dutch Institute
Explore Ties
The College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos
University, and the Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem
Studies (IMARES) at Wageningen University, the Netherlands,
are keenly pursuing intensive research partnership in strategic
and applied marine ecology and other related fields. As the first
step in initiating academic and research collaboration, a group of
researchers from Wageningen University and officials from the
Embassy of the Netherlands in Oman and Saudi Arabia, visited
SQU and held discussions with researchers and officials from
private sector organizations in Oman specialized in the field of
aquaculture, subsequent to conducting a mini symposium on aquaculture development in Oman.
Dr. Tammo Bult, Director of IMARES, said that Wageningen is
the only university in the Netherlands to focus specifically on
the theme ‘healthy food and living environment’. “We do so by
working closely together with governments and the business
community. For the 10th consecutive year, Wageningen University is the best university of The Netherlands”, he said. Talking
about his research institute, Dr. Bult said that IMARES provides
the scientific support that is essential for developing policies and
innovation in respect of the marine environment, fishery activities, aquaculture and the maritime sector. “We conduct research
with the aim of acquiring knowledge and offering advice on the
sustainable management and use of marine and coastal areas”.
IMARES focuses on research on exploration of ocean resources,
fisheries, aquaculture and sustainable oil and gas development.
As many as 210 scientists specialized marine ecology related
fields are working in this research institute. They provide advice
to government and private companies in the Netherlands and
the European Union. Dr. Tammo Bult, further said that IMARES
is keen to establish long term partnerships with SQU and the
Ministry of Agriculture and other organizations specialized in
fisheries and aquaculture. “We are happy about the outcome
of the mini symposium on aquaculture development in Oman
which provided the opportunity to interact with researchers
and representatives of private companies in Oman and to understand their priorities and needs. We are delighted that as the
next phase of strengthening the partnership a team of researchers from SQU is visiting our institute early next year”, he said.
In addition to presenting several papers at the symposium on
aquaculture, the Dutch scientists delivered three presentations
at a seminar in the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences on
15 December on the following topics: Responsible international
investment for agriculture and food (by Dr. Hans van der Beek) ;
boosting agriculture development and sustainable use of natural
resources (by Dr. Peter Prins); and cooperation in agro and food
sciences (by Dr. Arjo Rothius).
National Bioethics
Committee Meets
A meeting of the National Bioethics Committee, held
at Sultan Qaboos University, reviewed its ongoing
preparations for the first International Conference on
Bioethics to be held in the Sultanate in March 2015.
The meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al
Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU, and Chairman of
the National Bioethics Committee.
During the meeting, the Committee approved the
minutes of the previous meeting, and the follow-up
report, and briefed the members on the organization
of the International Conference and the preparations
so far. The meeting discussed the positive outcomes
of the Ethics Teachers Training Course (ETTC) held at
SQU in association with UNESCO at the beginning of
this month. It also approved the decision to organize
the Sixth Intellectual Forum on Bioethics which will
discuss stem cell research, to be held in Sohar, with the
participation of researchers in the field.
SQU at GCC Medical
Students Conference
The College of Medicine and Health Sciences at SQU, participated in
the 9th GCC Medical Students Conference hosted by UAE University
in Al Ain from December 26 to 30. About 110 SQU students, headed by
Dr. Fahd bin Mahmoud al Zedjali, Assistant Dean of the SQU College
of Medicine and Health Sciences for Undergraduate Studies, attended
the conference. The conference was aimed at strengthening the relations among students of colleges of medicine in GCC by building a
bridge of communication among universities and educational institutions in medical and scientific disciplines.
10 January 2015
SQU Invention to Reduce
Enhanced Oil Recovery Costs
In the Sultanate of Oman, there are still large remaining oil reserves that require implementation
of the technically more challenging (EOR) applications processes. One EOR method for light oil reservoirs that has proven success in different parts of
the world is Carbon Dioxide (Co2) injection. CO2
injection could be very beneficial in reducing residual oil saturation levels, for its higher oil ultimate
recovery and for its use in the Carbon Capture and
Storage (CCS) that leads to desirable benefits on the
environment. Determining CO2-oil Minimum Miscibility Pressure (MMP) is the key parameter for the
design and operations of successful CO2 miscible
flood project. The miscibility with the oil at injection pressure of MMP occurs at CO2 supercritical
conditions, which is the optimum condition to become an efficient solvent.
As part of a research conducted at the College of Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University, Dr. Khalid
Al Hinai, a researcher, has developed a new Rising
Bubble Apparatus system which can increase the
efficiency of enhanced oil recovery from Omani oil
fields. His research study outlines the method of
predicting CO2-oil MMP for different Omani light
oil reservoirs. The method used in this research
study involved two parts. The first phase consisted
of the experimental work based on the newly built
SQU Rising Bubble Apparatus system experiments
to measure CO2-oil MMP for different Omani light
oils reservoirs and the second phase of the research
study contained the development of a mathematical
model based on the resulting MMP values obtained
from the experimental work in the first phase. Dr.
Khalid Al Hinai developed and constructed the apparatus successfully in the most cost effective way,
at SQU Petroleum Engineering Research Laboratory,
with limited resources that required large amount of
efforts and engineering thinking.
Dr. Gholamreza Vakilinejad
10 January 2015
Commenting on his achievement, Dr. Khalid Al
Hinai said: “The newly built SQU RBA system has
more advantages as compared to the existing industry RBA system. The apparatus satisfies the thermodynamics behavior required for the CO2 miscibility in the oil is satisfied. In addition, the SQU RBA
System is less expensive than those available in the
market and the resulting cost saving is tremendous.
The built SQU RBA system is the first gas-oil miscibility apparatus in Oman and it provides accurate
measurements of gas-oil MMP. This was achieved
with no additional costs or at minimal costs and it
can be used in Oman and worldwide”.
In this research study, mathematical models to
predict the CO2-oil MMP were developed for the
Omani light oil reservoirs. Accurate predictions of
CO2-oil MMP were achieved by using the newly
developed Particle Swarm optimization (PSO) and
Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models of CO2-oil
MMP for the Omani oil samples than the literature
models predictions. An advantage to the newly developed PSO and ANN models that they are general
models and they are capable of being applied for
Oman light oil reservoirs and worldwide oil reservoirs.
The newly developed CO2-oil MMP PSO and ANN
mathematical models for the prediction of the CO2oil MMP, provide a fast and less time consuming
method for the screening of potential Omani light
oil reservoirs for CO2 flooding as an efficient EOR
Method. Dr. Khalid Al Hinai, conducted this research as a part of his doctoral study at SQU. The research was pefomed under the supervision of from
the College of Engineering , and H.E. Dr. Ali bin
Saud Al Bemani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU.
Dr. Khalid Al Hinai
Dr. Ali Al Bemani
Mind Over Matter
Tropical Cyclones and Biological
Productivity of the Ocean
A research team led by Dr. Sergey Piontkovski from the Department of Marine Science and Fisheries at SQU, has been involved in studies of the ecology of atmospheric cyclones. Tropical atmospheric cyclones are important
elements of the ocean-atmosphere interaction responsible for significant
cooling and vertical mixing of the upper layers of the ocean. Every year,
about 80 tropical cyclones (with wind speeds above 17 m s-1) form in the
world’s ocean and affect physical, chemical, and biological processes in the
upper mixed layer. The cyclones with maximal wind speed exceeding 33m
s−1 are known as typhoons in the Pacific Ocean and as hurricanes in the
Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
Devastating consequences of the hurricanes and typhoons have reportedly
reached billions of dollars in reparation of damages and tens of thousands
in deaths. In terms of biological consequences, the cyclone wind field causes
local mixing resulting in the injection of nutrients into the upper layer of
the ocean and inducing the phytoplankton bloom. In some cases, the magnitude of the cyclone-induced bloom could reach gradual level, in terms
of primary production. Overall, the information on how cyclones modify
biological productivity of the ocean is yet to be integrated and a fundamental concept is yet to be proposed, on how the wind speed of cyclones, the
translation speed, and the magnitude of induced bloom are related. The
team was aimed for the analysis of these relationships.
Remote sensing is one of the approaches broadly used in monitoring of
tropical cyclones, as well as the phytoplankton blooms, for which the chlorophyll a concentration (green pigment in cells) is widely used as an indicator of phytoplankton biomass and biological productivity in general.
Remotely sensed wind speed, translation speed, atmospheric pressure, atmospheric precipitation rate, and chlorophyll-a concentration were used to
verify the hypothesis that the response of the phytoplankton community to
propagating atmospheric cyclones should be associated with the phase of
the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton biomass and the translation speed of a
In the case of cyclone “Gonu” which made landfall on the Omani coast on 5
June 2007, data on phytoplankton coastal sampling were analyzed. Overall,
for the 9 cyclones investigated, the maximal sustained wind speed varied
two-fold, whereas the translation speed of cyclones and the chlorophyll
ratio (characterizing chlorophyll concentration before and after cyclone
passage) varied by tenfold. It was shown that cyclones affecting the phytoplankton community approaching its seasonal production maximum could
not stimulate further increase of chlorophyll-a concentration (due to explicitly available nutrients) or this stimulation results in a weak response. Controversially, cyclones affecting the community approaching the “bottom” of
seasonal cycle could cause gradual increase of chlorophyll-a concentration.
A negative type of relationship between chlorophyll ratio and translation
speed of cyclones was evaluated. In the range of translation speeds from 1
to 10 ms-1, the exponential increase of chlorophyll-a concentration due to
cyclone passage was mostly pronounced for slow moving cyclones.
Tropical Cyclones in the Indian Ocean
About 13% of the world’s tropical cyclones were reported in the northern
part of the Indian Ocean. Cyclone Gonu, which made a landfall in the coast
of Oman on 5 June 2007, was documented as the strongest cyclone ever
recorded in the northern part of the Indian Ocean over the past 60 years.
Two days prior to the landfall, Gonu had intensified to a super storm with
maximum wind speed of about 260 km/h becoming the first documented
category 4 status cyclone in the Arabian Sea, as well as the first cyclone to
traverse this basin. In another study, Dr. Sergey Piontkovski and Dr. Adnan
Al Azri, from the Department of Marine Sciences & Fisheries at SQU, had
analyzed the response of Phytoplankton Biomass (chlorophyll a) to the passage of Gonu.
The study concludes that the concentration of the chlorophyll a (detected
for some “color windows” in the atmospheric cloud mask) along the track
of the tropical cyclone, Gonu, exceeded the background concentration in the
adjacent regions. The enhanced concentration was observed over the final
(western) part of a track, corresponding to a super cyclone phase. The persistence of the enhanced concentration induced by the passage of Gonu did
not exceed 1 month and did not reach the concentration range typical for
the Omani coastal upwelling in summer, which is the season of the highest
concentration of chlorophyll a due to the southwest monsoon.
10 January 2015

Straight Talk Vimal Karani Horizon: Dr. Vimal: