The circulation in the upper and intermediate layers of the South China Sea

A. Isobe, T. Namba

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The circulation in the basin of the South China Sea is reproduced using a four-layer numerical model. Current fields in the second (upper) and third (intermediate) layers are emphasized. Three eddies coexist in the upper layer in summer. The circulation pattern in this layer is similar to that in the first (surface) layer. In winter, a cyclonic circulation occupies the entire basin of the South China Sea in the upper layer as in the surface layer. On the other hand, the circulation pattern in the intermediate layer is fairly different from that in upper two layers especially in winter. A double-gyre pattern appears in the intermediate layer during winter. The pattern is caused by the propagation of the baroclinic Rossby wave of the second mode. This wave is excited at onset of the winter monsoon wind. Such circulation pattern well explains the observed salinity distribution in the intermediate layer. Although the double-gyre pattern in the intermediate layer is revealed even in summer in this model, it is restricted in the western part of the basin. Besides, its current speed is small compared to that in winter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 26 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography

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