Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 803–814 | Cite as

Three dimensional diagnostic study of the circulation in the South China Sea during winter 1998

  • Guanghong Liao
  • Yaochu Yuan
  • Xiaohua Xu
Original Articles


On the basis of hydrographic data obtained from 28 November to 27 December, 1998, the three-dimensional structure of circulation in the South China Sea (SCS) is computed using a three-dimensional diagnostic model. The combination of sea surface height anomaly from altimeter data and numerical results provides a consistent circulation pattern for the SCS, and main circulation features can be summarized as follows: in the northern SCS there are a cold and cyclonic circulation C1 with two cores C1-1 and C1-2 northwest of Luzon and an anticyclonic eddy (W1) near Dongsha Islands. In the central SCS there is a stronger cyclonic circulation C2 with two cores C2-1 and C2-2 east of Vietnam and a weaker anticyclonic eddy W2 northwest of Palawan Island. A stronger coastal southward jet presents west of the eddy C2 and turns to the southeast in the region southwest of eddy C2-2, and it then turns to flow eastward in the region south of eddy C2-2. In the southern SCS there are a weak cyclonic eddy C3 northwest of Borneo and an anti-cyclonic circulation W3 in the subsurface layer. The net westward volume transport through section CD at 119.125°E from 18.975° to 21.725°N is about 10.3 × 106 m3s−1 in the layer above 400 m level. The most important dynamic mechanism generating the circulation in the SCS is a joint effect of the baroclinicity and relief (JEBAR), and the second dynamical mechanism is an interaction between the wind stress and relief (IBWSR). The strong upwelling occurs off northwest Luzon.


Circulation in the SCS winter of 1998 three dimensional diagnostic modeling SSHA from altimeter data multi-eddies structure dynamic factors JEBAR and IBWSR upwelling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationHangzhouChina

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