YANG Zhitong, LUO Yiyong. Low-frequency variability of the shallow meridional overturning circulation in the South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2016, 35(3): 10-20. doi: 10.1007/s13131-016-0826-9
Citation: YANG Zhitong, LUO Yiyong. Low-frequency variability of the shallow meridional overturning circulation in the South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2016, 35(3): 10-20. doi: 10.1007/s13131-016-0826-9

Low-frequency variability of the shallow meridional overturning circulation in the South China Sea

doi: 10.1007/s13131-016-0826-9
  • Received Date: 2015-07-26
  • Rev Recd Date: 2015-10-23
  • The low-frequency variability of the shallow meridional overturning circulation (MOC) in the South China Sea (SCS) is investigated using a Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) product for the period of 1900-2010. A dynamical decomposition method is used in which the MOC is decomposed into the Ekman, external mode, and vertical shear components. Results show that all the three dynamical components contribute to the formation of the seasonal and annual mean shallow MOC in the SCS. The shallow MOC in the SCS consists of two cells:a clockwise cell in the south and an anticlockwise cell in the north; the former is controlled by the Ekman flow and the latter is dominated by the external barotropic flow, with the contribution of the vertical shear being to reduce the magnitude of both cells. In addition, the strength of the MOC in the south is found to have a falling trend over the past century, due mainly to a weakening of the Luzon Strait transport (LST) that reduces the transport of the external component. Further analysis suggests that the weakening of the LST is closely related to a weakening of the westerly wind anomalies over the equatorial Pacific, which leads to a southward shift of the North Equatorial Current (NEC) bifurcation and thus a stronger transport of the Kuroshio east of Luzon.
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