LI Li, GUO Xiaogang, WU Risheng. The winter western boundary current of the South China Sea: physical structure and volume transport in December 1998[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2018, 37(3): 1-7. doi: 10.1007/s13131-018-1195-3
Citation: LI Li, GUO Xiaogang, WU Risheng. The winter western boundary current of the South China Sea: physical structure and volume transport in December 1998[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2018, 37(3): 1-7. doi: 10.1007/s13131-018-1195-3

The winter western boundary current of the South China Sea: physical structure and volume transport in December 1998

doi: 10.1007/s13131-018-1195-3
  • Received Date: 2017-10-20
  • The unique survey in December 1998 mapped the entire western boundary area of the South China Sea (SCS), which reveals the three-dimensional structure and huge volume transport of the swift and narrow winter western boundary current of the SCS (SCSwwbc) in full scale. The current is found to flow all the way from the shelf edge off Hong Kong to the Sunda Shelf with a width around 100 km and a vertical scale of about 400 m. It appears to be the strongest off the Indo-China Peninsula, where its volume transport reached over 20×106 m3/s. The current is weaker upstream in the northern SCS to the west of Hong Kong. A Kuroshio loop or detached eddy intruded through the Luzon Strait is observed farther east where the SCSwwbc no more exists. The results suggest that during the survey the SCSwwbc was fed primarily by the interior recirculation of the SCS rather than by the “branching” of the Kuroshio from the Luzon Strait as indicated by surface drifters, which is likely a near-surface phenomenon and only contributes a minor part to the total transport of the SCSwwbc. Several topics related to the SCSwwbc are also discussed.
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