, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 87-94
Date: 29 Dec 2009

Covariation of the Indonesian throughflow and South China Sea throughflow associated with the 1976/77 regime shift

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Changes in the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) and the South China Sea throughflow—measured by the Luzon Strait Transport (LST)—associated with the 1976/77 regime shift are analyzed using the Island Rule theory and the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation dataset. Results show that LST increased but ITF transport decreased after 1975. Such changes were induced by variations in wind stress associated with the regime shift. The strengthening of the easterly wind anomaly east of the Luzon Strait played an important role in the increase of LST after 1975, while the westerly wind anomaly in the equatorial Pacific contributed significantly to the decrease in ITF transport after 1975, accounting for 53% of the change.

After 1975, the Kuroshio Current strengthened and the Mindanao Current weakened in response to a decrease in the total transport of the North Equatorial Current. Both the North Equatorial Countercurrent and the South Equatorial Current weakened after 1975, and an anomalous cyclonic circulation in the western equatorial Pacific prevented the tropical Pacific water from entering the Indian Ocean directly.