The Changing Circulation of Asia-Pacific Marginal Seas in the South China Sea: A Physical View

  • Jianping GanEmail author
  • Zhiqiang Liu
  • Chiwing Rex Hui
  • Yao Tang
  • Zhongya Cai
  • Junlu Li
Part of the Atmosphere, Earth, Ocean & Space book series (AEONS)


The South China Sea (SCS) is the largest marginal sea in the western Pacific Ocean. The overall change of marine environment in the SCS is mainly regulated by the variation of ocean circulation, which is, in turn, governed by the geophysical fluid dynamics in the circulation. This chapter provides an overview and analysis on the predominant cyclonic-anticyclonic-cyclonic (CAC) circulation, and the associated processes and responses of the hydrography and pathway of the water masses in the SCS. We present the changing CAC circulation and transport in the SCS during the last 20-year, and reason the changes by investigating the underlying mechanism of external forcing associated with the water exchange with adjacent ocean, and internal dynamic response to the external forcing in the SCS. This study links the changing ocean with fundamental circulation physics, which validate scientifically the changing evidences and provide a solid theoretical foundation to foresee the future changing trend.


South China Sea circulation Circulation physics Changing circulation Changing forcing 



This research was supported by the Key Research Project of the National Science Foundation, China (41930539, 41906016), and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (GRF16204915, GRF16206516).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianping Gan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhiqiang Liu
    • 2
  • Chiwing Rex Hui
    • 1
  • Yao Tang
    • 1
  • Zhongya Cai
    • 1
  • Junlu Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ocean Science and Department of MathematicsHong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloon, Hong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Ocean Science and EngineeringSouthern University of Science and TechnologyShenzhenChina

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