Impacts of the Madden–Julian Oscillation on the Summer South China Sea Ocean Circulation and Temperature

Guihua Wang State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, China

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Zheng Ling State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, China

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Renguang Wu Institute of Space and Earth Information Science and Department of Physics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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Changlin Chen State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, China

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Abstract

The present study investigates the impact of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) on the South China Sea (SCS) in summer with three types of models: a theoretical Sverdrup model, a 1.5-layer reduced gravity model, and a regional ocean model [Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS)]. Results show that the ocean circulation in the SCS has an intraseasonal oscillation responding to the MJO. During its westerly phase, the MJO produces positive (negative) wind stress curl over the northern (southern) SCS and thus induces an enhanced cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation in the northern (southern) SCS. This not only cools sea surface temperature (SST) but also decreases (increases) subsurface temperature in the northern (southern) SCS. During its easterly phase, the MJO basically produces a reversed but weaker influence on SCS ocean circulation and temperature. Thus, the MJO can have an imprint on the summer climatology of SCS circulation and temperature. The authors' analysis further indicates that the MJO's dynamic effect associated with wind is generally more important than its thermodynamic effect in modulating the regional ocean circulation and temperature. The present study suggests that the MJO is important for summer ocean circulation and temperature in the SCS.

Corresponding author address: Guihua Wang, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Ocean Administration, Baochubei Road 36, Hangzhou 310012, China. E-mail: guihua_wanggh@yahoo.com.cn

Abstract

The present study investigates the impact of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) on the South China Sea (SCS) in summer with three types of models: a theoretical Sverdrup model, a 1.5-layer reduced gravity model, and a regional ocean model [Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS)]. Results show that the ocean circulation in the SCS has an intraseasonal oscillation responding to the MJO. During its westerly phase, the MJO produces positive (negative) wind stress curl over the northern (southern) SCS and thus induces an enhanced cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation in the northern (southern) SCS. This not only cools sea surface temperature (SST) but also decreases (increases) subsurface temperature in the northern (southern) SCS. During its easterly phase, the MJO basically produces a reversed but weaker influence on SCS ocean circulation and temperature. Thus, the MJO can have an imprint on the summer climatology of SCS circulation and temperature. The authors' analysis further indicates that the MJO's dynamic effect associated with wind is generally more important than its thermodynamic effect in modulating the regional ocean circulation and temperature. The present study suggests that the MJO is important for summer ocean circulation and temperature in the SCS.

Corresponding author address: Guihua Wang, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Ocean Administration, Baochubei Road 36, Hangzhou 310012, China. E-mail: guihua_wanggh@yahoo.com.cn
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