, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 1331-1342
Date: 16 Aug 2013

Performances of seven datasets in presenting the upper ocean heat content in the South China Sea

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In this study, the upper ocean heat content (OHC) variations in the South China Sea (SCS) during 1993–2006 were investigated by examining ocean temperatures in seven datasets, including World Ocean Atlas 2009 (WOA09) (climatology), Ishii datasets, Ocean General Circulation Model for the Earth Simulator (OFES), Simple Ocean Data Assimilation system (SODA), Global Ocean Data Assimilation System (GODAS), China Oceanic ReAnalysis system (CORA), and an ocean reanalysis dataset for the joining area of Asia and Indian-Pacific Ocean (AIPO1.0). Among these datasets, two were independent of any numerical model, four relied on data assimilation, and one was generated without any data assimilation. The annual cycles revealed by the seven datasets were similar, but the interannual variations were different. Vertical structures of temperatures along the 18°N, 12.75°N, and 120°E sections were compared with data collected during open cruises in 1998 and 2005–08. The results indicated that Ishii, OFES, CORA, and AIPO1.0 were more consistent with the observations. Through systematic comparisons, we found that each dataset had its own shortcomings and advantages in presenting the upper OHC in the SCS.