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Guihua Wang, Dake Chen, and Jilan Su


Generation of mesoscale eddies in the eastern South China Sea (SCS) in winters during August 1999 to July 2002 is studied with a reduced-gravity model. It is found that the orographic wind jets associated with the northeast winter monsoon and the gaps in the mountainous island chain along the eastern boundary of the SCS can spin up cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies over the SCS. Results suggest that direct wind forcing could be an important generation mechanism for the rich eddy activity in the SCS, and that to simulate this mechanism the resolution of the wind forcing has to be high enough to resolve the local wind jets induced by orographic effects.

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Guihua Wang, Rui Xin Huang, Jilan Su, and Dake Chen


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.

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Xiaohui Liu, Dong-Ping Wang, Jilan Su, Dake Chen, Tao Lian, Changming Dong, and Tongya Liu


The circulation of the Kuroshio northeast of Taiwan is characterized by a large anticyclonic loop of surface intrusion and strong upwelling at the shelfbreak. To study the mechanisms of Kuroshio intrusions, the vorticity balance is examined using a high-resolution nested numerical model. In the 2D depth-averaged vorticity equation, the advection of geostrophic potential vorticity (APV) term and the joint effect of baroclinicity and relief (JEBAR) term are dominant. On the other hand, in the 2D depth-integrated vorticity equation, the main balance is between nonlinear advection and bottom pressure torque. It is shown that JEBAR and APV tend to compensate, and their difference is comparable to bottom pressure torque. Perhaps most significantly, a general framework is provided for examination of vorticity balance over steep slopes through a full 3D depth-dependent vorticity equation. The 3D analysis reveals a well-defined bottom boundary layer over the shelfbreak, about 40 m deep and capped by the vertical velocity maximum. In the upper frictionless layer from the surface to about 100 m, the primary balance is between nonlinear advection and horizontal divergence. In the lower frictional layer, viscous stress is balanced by nonlinear advection and horizontal divergence. The bottom pressure torque, which corresponds to the depth-integrated viscous effect, is a proxy for viscous stress divergence at the bottom. The importance of nonlinear advection is further demonstrated in a sensitivity experiment by removing advective terms from momentum equations. Without nonlinear advection, the bottom pressure torque becomes trivial, the boundary layer vanishes, and the on-shelf intrusion is considerably weakened.

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