Volume 39 Issue 3
Apr.  2020
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Zi Cheng, Meng Zhou, Yisen Zhong, Zhaoru Zhang, Hailong Liu, Lei Zhou. Statistical characteristics of mesoscale eddies on the continental slope in the northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2020, 39(3): 36-44. doi: 10.1007/s13131-019-1530-3
Citation: Zi Cheng, Meng Zhou, Yisen Zhong, Zhaoru Zhang, Hailong Liu, Lei Zhou. Statistical characteristics of mesoscale eddies on the continental slope in the northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2020, 39(3): 36-44. doi: 10.1007/s13131-019-1530-3

Statistical characteristics of mesoscale eddies on the continental slope in the northern South China Sea

doi: 10.1007/s13131-019-1530-3
Funds:  The National Basic Research Program of China under contract Nos 2014CB441500 and 2014CB441506, the National Natural Science Fundation of China under contract No. 41706014; the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Fund under contract No. 2019 SJTU-HKUST.
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: Meng Zhou, meng.zhou@sjtu.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 2018-11-15
  • Accepted Date: 2019-06-03
  • Available Online: 2020-04-21
  • Publish Date: 2020-03-25
  • The continental slope in the northern South China Sea (SCS) is rich in mesoscale eddies which play an important role in transport and retention of nutrients and biota. In this study, we investigate the statistical properties of eddy distributions and propagation in a period of 24 years between 1993 and 2016 by using the altimeter data. A total of 147 eddies are found in the continental slope region (CSR), including 70 cyclonic eddies (CEs) and 77 anticyclonic eddies (ACEs). For those eddies that appear in the CSR, the surrounding areas of Dongsha Islands (DS) and southwest of Taiwan (SWT) are considered as the primary sources, where eddies generated contribute more than 60% of the total. According to the spatial distribution of eddy relative vorticity, eddies are weakening as propagating westward. Although both CEs and ACEs roughly propagate along the slope isobaths, there are discrepancies between CEs and ACEs. The ACEs move slightly faster in the zonal direction, while the CEs tend to cross the isobaths with large bottom depth change. The ACEs generally move further into the basin areas after leaving the CSR while CEs remain around the CSR. The eddy propagation on the continental slope is likely to be associated with mean flow at a certain degree because the eddy trajectories have notable seasonal signals that are consistent with the seasonal cycle of geostrophic current. The results indicate that the eddy translation speed is statistically consistent with geostrophic velocity in both magnitude and direction.
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