, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 69-78

3≈6 Months Variation of Sea Surface Height in the South China Sea and Its Adjacent Ocean

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Sea surface height (SSH) variations with a period of 3≈6 months (SSH36 variations) in the South China Sea (SCS) and its adjacent ocean are intensively investigated using six years of TOPEX/POSEIDON-derived SSH data. The results show that there appears higher energy of SSH36 variations in the east of the Luzon Strait and in some areas of the SCS, both of which are correlated with each other. The SSH36 variations usually propagate westward in the subtropical region of the northern Pacific Ocean and turn northward in the east of the Luzon Strait while they sometimes propagate into the SCS through the Luzon Strait with the phase speed of about 11–12 cm/s, which may be considered as Rossby waves. It can be inferred that the SSH36 variations are strongly associated with current structures and eddies in the SCS because of their significant intensiveness. The SSH variations with the period of 6 months are more dominant than those with the other periods in the SCS.