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Impact of Changjiang River Discharge on Sea Surface Temperature in the East China Sea

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  • 1 Graduate School of Science and Technology, Department of Ocean Civil Engineering, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan
  • | 2 Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga, Japan
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Abstract

This study investigated how the Changjiang River discharge (CRD) emptying into the East China Sea (ECS) affects the upper-ocean stratification [hence, sea surface temperature (SST) changes], based on ocean general circulation modeling with and without CRD. A new finding in this study is that CRD contributes significantly to a reduction in summer SST in the ECS. Comparison between the two model runs revealed that vertical one-dimensional processes contribute considerably to SST warming in the ECS, while horizontal advection plays an important role in lowering SST in summer. The results of a particle-tracking experiment suggested that the cold water mass formed along the Chinese coast during the previous winter contributes to the SST reduction in the following summer. From the end of the summer monsoon season, the less saline CRD advected toward the Chinese coast generates a shallow mixed layer (ML), which inhibits heat exchange between the ML and thermocline. In winter, heat loss of the ML through the sea surface results in a reduction in SST over a broad region. Water exchange through the bottom of the ML is relatively suppressed by robust stratification, which prevents cooling of the thermocline and leads to a temperature inversion. The northeastward ocean current associated with the summer monsoon carries the cold water mass in the ML across the ECS; therefore, SST decreases during the following season. These results suggest that CRD has a critical role on both the ocean circulation system and the coupled air–sea interactions in the ECS.

Corresponding author address: Shin’ichiro Kako, Department of Ocean Civil Engineering, Kagoshima University 1-21-40 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan. E-mail: kako@oce.kagoshima-u.ac.jp

Abstract

This study investigated how the Changjiang River discharge (CRD) emptying into the East China Sea (ECS) affects the upper-ocean stratification [hence, sea surface temperature (SST) changes], based on ocean general circulation modeling with and without CRD. A new finding in this study is that CRD contributes significantly to a reduction in summer SST in the ECS. Comparison between the two model runs revealed that vertical one-dimensional processes contribute considerably to SST warming in the ECS, while horizontal advection plays an important role in lowering SST in summer. The results of a particle-tracking experiment suggested that the cold water mass formed along the Chinese coast during the previous winter contributes to the SST reduction in the following summer. From the end of the summer monsoon season, the less saline CRD advected toward the Chinese coast generates a shallow mixed layer (ML), which inhibits heat exchange between the ML and thermocline. In winter, heat loss of the ML through the sea surface results in a reduction in SST over a broad region. Water exchange through the bottom of the ML is relatively suppressed by robust stratification, which prevents cooling of the thermocline and leads to a temperature inversion. The northeastward ocean current associated with the summer monsoon carries the cold water mass in the ML across the ECS; therefore, SST decreases during the following season. These results suggest that CRD has a critical role on both the ocean circulation system and the coupled air–sea interactions in the ECS.

Corresponding author address: Shin’ichiro Kako, Department of Ocean Civil Engineering, Kagoshima University 1-21-40 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan. E-mail: kako@oce.kagoshima-u.ac.jp
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