Observational study of the circulation in the southern South China Sea
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CTD data from two oceanographic survey cruises, conducted by “Shiyan No. 3” R/V during two reversing monsoons, were employed to calculate and analyze the distributions of temperature, salinity and geopotential anomaly in the southern South China Sea (SSCS). Based on these distributions, the horizontal structures of the SSCS circulation are described systematically. Study results show that the SSCS circulation structure could be classified as a two-layer (the upper and the lower) pattern, and that the main circulation in the upper layer (0–400 m) is driven by the South China Sea monsoons and is opposite in direction to the reversal of the monsoons. The distributions of principal current systems and their features are presented. Two important local phenomena, local eddy and oceanic front, were observed.
Keywordssouthern South China Sea circulation structure eddy oceanic front
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