Rapid warming of sea surface temperature along the Kuroshio and the China coast in the East China Sea during the 20th century

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  • 1 Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
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Abstract

It has been reported that the sea surface temperature (SST) trend of the East China Sea during the 20th century was a couple of times larger than the global mean SST trend. However, the detailed spatial structure of the SST trend in the East China Sea and its mechanism have not been understood. The present study examines the SST trend in the East China Sea from 1901 to 2010 using observational data and a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) with an eddy-resolving horizontal resolution. A comparison among two observational datasets and the model output reveal that enhanced SST warming occurred along the Kuroshio and along the coast of China over the continental shelf. In both regions, the SST trends were the largest in winter. The heat budget analysis using the model output indicates that the upper layer temperature rises in both regions were induced by the trend of ocean advection, which was balanced to the increasing of surface net heat release. In addition, the rapid SST warming along the Kuroshio was induced by the acceleration of the Kuroshio. Sensitivity experiments revealed that this acceleration was likely caused by the negative wind stress curl anomalies over the North Pacific. In contrast, the enhanced SST warming along the China coast resulted from the ocean circulation change over the continental shelf by local atmospheric forcing.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

This article is included in the Climate Implications of Frontal Scale Air–Sea Interaction special collection.

Corresponding author address: Yoshi N. Sasaki, Science 8th bldg, 8-3-20, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, N10, W8, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: sasakiyo@sci.hokudai.ac.jp

Abstract

It has been reported that the sea surface temperature (SST) trend of the East China Sea during the 20th century was a couple of times larger than the global mean SST trend. However, the detailed spatial structure of the SST trend in the East China Sea and its mechanism have not been understood. The present study examines the SST trend in the East China Sea from 1901 to 2010 using observational data and a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) with an eddy-resolving horizontal resolution. A comparison among two observational datasets and the model output reveal that enhanced SST warming occurred along the Kuroshio and along the coast of China over the continental shelf. In both regions, the SST trends were the largest in winter. The heat budget analysis using the model output indicates that the upper layer temperature rises in both regions were induced by the trend of ocean advection, which was balanced to the increasing of surface net heat release. In addition, the rapid SST warming along the Kuroshio was induced by the acceleration of the Kuroshio. Sensitivity experiments revealed that this acceleration was likely caused by the negative wind stress curl anomalies over the North Pacific. In contrast, the enhanced SST warming along the China coast resulted from the ocean circulation change over the continental shelf by local atmospheric forcing.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

This article is included in the Climate Implications of Frontal Scale Air–Sea Interaction special collection.

Corresponding author address: Yoshi N. Sasaki, Science 8th bldg, 8-3-20, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, N10, W8, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: sasakiyo@sci.hokudai.ac.jp
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