Progress on shelf and slope circulation in the northern South China Sea

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Abstract

Influenced by the seasonally reversed monsoons, water exchange through straits, and topography, the shelf and slope circulation in the northern South China Sea (NSCS) is complex and changeable. The typical current system in the NSCS consists of the slope current, South China Sea warm current (SCSWC), coastal current, and associated upwelling (in summer) and downwelling (in winter). This paper reviews recent advances in the study of NSCS shelf and slope circulation since the 1990s, and summarizes the roles of Kuroshio intrusion, the monsoons, topography, and the buoyancy effect of the Pearl River plume in the shelf and slope current system of the NSCS. We also point out some potential scientific issues that require further study, such as the dynamic connection between the internal basin and shelf areas of the NSCS, the persistence of the SCSWC in winter, the temporo-spatial characteristics of downwelling during winter in the NSCS, and its material and energy transport.

Keywords

The northern South China Sea Circulation Progress 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

Constructive comments and suggestions from Prof. Dongxiao WANG are gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by the Frontier Science Research Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. QYZDJ-SSW-DQC022), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41476012, 41406038 & 41576003), and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (Grant No. 2014A030313777).

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© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina

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