The Effects of Thermohaline Circulation on Wind-Driven Circulation in the South China Sea

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

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Rui Xin Huang Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

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

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

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Abstract

The dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation in the South China Sea (SCS) is studied using a simple reduced gravity model, in which the upwelling driven by mixing in the abyssal ocean is treated in terms of an upward pumping distributed at the base of the upper layer.

Because of the strong upwelling of deep water, the cyclonic gyre in the northern SCS is weakened, but the anticyclonic gyre in the southern SCS is intensified in summer, while cyclonic gyres in both the southern and northern SCS are weakened in winter. For all seasons, the dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation is larger in the northern SCS than in the southern SCS. Analysis suggests that the upwelling associated with the thermohaline circulation in the deep ocean plays a crucial role in regulating the wind-driven circulation in the upper ocean.

Corresponding author address: Guihua Wang, State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310012, China. E-mail: guihua_wanggh@yahoo.com.cn

Abstract

The dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation in the South China Sea (SCS) is studied using a simple reduced gravity model, in which the upwelling driven by mixing in the abyssal ocean is treated in terms of an upward pumping distributed at the base of the upper layer.

Because of the strong upwelling of deep water, the cyclonic gyre in the northern SCS is weakened, but the anticyclonic gyre in the southern SCS is intensified in summer, while cyclonic gyres in both the southern and northern SCS are weakened in winter. For all seasons, the dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation is larger in the northern SCS than in the southern SCS. Analysis suggests that the upwelling associated with the thermohaline circulation in the deep ocean plays a crucial role in regulating the wind-driven circulation in the upper ocean.

Corresponding author address: Guihua Wang, State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310012, China. E-mail: guihua_wanggh@yahoo.com.cn
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