Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 65, Issue 8, pp 1143–1164 | Cite as

A modeling study of the effects of river runoff, tides, and surface wind-wave mixing on the Eastern and Western Hainan upwelling systems of the South China Sea, China

  • Daoru Wang
  • Yi Yang
  • Jia WangEmail author
  • Xuezhi Bai
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 6th International Workshop on Modeling the Ocean (IWMO) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 23-27 June 2014


This study investigates the variation of eastern Hainan (or Qiongdong) and western Hainan upwelling systems during the East Asia summer monsoon (EASM) season using a state-of-the-art finite-volume coastal model and reveals the impacts of tidal mixing, surface wind-wave mixing, and river runoff on the Hainan upwellings in terms of the spatial and temporal variations, intensification, and vertical structure. It is found that (1) river runoff, a stabilizer of the water column, suppresses the upwelling beneath it from reaching the surface, although strong upwelling still occurs in the lower layer of the water column; (2) tidal mixing, a mechanism of forming bottom mixed layer, promotes upwelling, leading to strengthening of the upwelling; (3) surface wind-wave mixing, a major mechanism for formation of the upper mixed layer and a sharp thermocline, inhibits the upwelling from crossing the thermocline to reach the surface; and (4) unlike the east coast upwelling, the upwelling on the west coast is tidally induced.


Hainan upwelling South China Sea East Asia summer monsoon Surface wind-wave mixing Tidally induced upwelling 



We appreciate support from NSFC #40830850. Yi Yang appreciates the support of NOAA GLERL and the opportunity to collaborate with NOAA scientists. Thanks goes to Cathy Darnell for editing a draft of this paper. Thanks also go to Dr. Kohei Mizobata for providing the satellite measurements shown in Fig. 6 and Dr. Ayumi Manome-Fujisaki for her modification of FVCOM time integration scheme. We appreciate very much the two anonymous reviewers for their very constructive comments that helped significantly improve the paper. This is GLERL contribution no. 1768.


  1. Asselin R (1972) Frequency filter for time integrations. Mon Weather Rev 100:487–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bai X, Wang J, Schwab DJ, Yang Y, Luo L, Leshkevich GA, Liu S (2013) Modeling 1993–2008 climatology of seasonal general circulation and thermal structure in the Great Lakes using FVCOM. Ocean Model. doi: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2013.02.003 Google Scholar
  3. Blumberg AF (1996) An Estuarine and coast ocean version of POM. In: Proceedings of the Princeton Ocean Model Users Meeting. Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen C, Liu H, Beardsley RC (2003) An unstructured, finite-volume, three dimensional, primitive equation ocean model: application to coastal ocean and estuaries. J Atmos Ocean Technol 20:159–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen C, Beardsley RC, Cowles G (2006) An unstructured grid, finite-volume coastal ocean model (FVCOM) system. Special issue entitled “advance in computational oceanography”. Oceanography 19(1):78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chia F, Xie H, Shi M (2001) A study of the east Hainan upwelling. Proc Oceanogr China 13:129–137 (in Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  7. Chu PC, Edmons NL, Fan C (1999) Dynamical mechanism for the South China Sea seasonal circulation and thermocline variabilities. J Phys Oceanogr 29:2971–2989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deng S (1987) An analysis of upwellings in the southern East China Sea and South China Sea. Internal Rep., State Oceanic Administration South China Sea Branch, Guangzhou, p 30 pp, in Chinese Google Scholar
  9. Fang G, Chen H, Wei Z, Wang Y, Wang X, Li C (2006) Trends and interannual variability of the South China Sea surface winds, surface height, and surface temperature in the recent decade. J Geophys Res 111:C11S16. doi: 10.1029/2005JC003276 Google Scholar
  10. Feldman GC, McClain CR (2005) Ocean color web, MODIS reprocessing level-3 mapped, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Kuring N, Bailey SW (eds) July 28th.
  11. Gan J, Cheung A, Guo X, Li L (2009a) Intensified upwelling over a widened shelf in the northeastern South China Sea. J Geophys Res 114:C09019. doi: 10.1029/2007JC004660 Google Scholar
  12. Gan J, Li L, Wang D, Guo X (2009b) Interaction of a river plume with coastal upwelling in the northeastern South China Sea. Cont Shelf Res 29:728–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guan B, Chen S (1964) Ocean circulation in China Seas. Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, internal report (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  14. Guo F, Shi M, Xia Z (1998) Diagnosis calculation of the east Hainan upwelling using a 2-D numerical model. Acta Oceanol Sin 20(6):109–116 (in Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  15. Han W, Wang M, Ma K (1990) A study of Summer minimum bottom temperature region—East Hainan upwelling. Acta Oceanol Sin 21(3):167–175 (in Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  16. Hu H, Wang J (2010) Modeling effects of tidal and wave mixing on circulation and thermohaline structures in the Bering Sea: Process studies. J Geophys Res 115:C01006. doi: 10.1029/2008JC005175 Google Scholar
  17. Hu JY, Kawamura H, Tang DL (2003) Tidal front around the Hainan Island, northwest of the South China Sea. J Geophys Res 108:3342. doi: 10.1029/2003JC001883 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hu H, Wan Z, Yuan Y (2004) Simulation of seasonal variation of phytoplankton in the South Yellow Sea and analysis on its influential factors. Acta Oceanol Sin 6:74–88 (In Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  19. Ikeda M (1983) Linear instability of current flowing along a bottom slope using a three-layer model. J Phys Oceanogr 13:208–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jing Z, Qi Y, Hua Z, Zhang H (2009) Numerical study on the summer upwelling system in the northern continental shelf of the South China Sea. Cont Shelf Res 29:467–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jing Z, Qi Y, Du Y (2011) Upwelling in the continental shelf of northern South China Sea associated with 1997–1998 El Niño. J Geophys Res 116:C02033. doi: 10.1029/2010JC006598 Google Scholar
  22. Kalnay E et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li Y, Peng S, Wang J, Yan J (2014) Impacts of nonbreaking wave-stirring-induced mixing on the upper ocean thermal structure and typhoon intensity in the South China Sea. J Geophys Res. 119. doi: 10.1002/2014JC009956
  24. Liu K-K, Chao S-Y, Shaw P-T, Gong G-C, Tang TY (2002) Monsoon-forced chlorophyll distribution and primary production in the South China Sea: observations and a numerical study. Deep-Sea Res I 49:1387–1412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lü X, Qiao F, Xia C, Zhu J, Yuan Y (2006) Upwelling off Yangtze River estuary in summer. J Geophys Res 111:C11S08. doi: 10.1029/2005JC003250 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lü X, Qiao F, Wang G, Xia C, Yuan Y (2008) Upwelling off the west coast of Hainan Island in summer: its detection and mechanisms. Geophys Res Lett 35:L02604. doi: 10.1029/2007GL032440 Google Scholar
  27. Luo L, Wang J, Schwab DJ, Vanderploeg H, Leshkevich G, Bai X, Hu H, Wang D (2012) Simulating the 1998 spring bloom in Lake Michigan using a coupled physical-biological Model. J Geophys Res 117. doi: 10.1029/2012JC008216
  28. Manome-Fujisaki A, Wang J (2015) Modeling ice-hydrodynamics in Lake Erie using a modified version of FVCOM. J Geophys Res (submitted)Google Scholar
  29. Mellor GL (2001) Users guide for a 3-D, primitive equation, numerical ocean model. Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, p 56 ppGoogle Scholar
  30. Mellor GL, Yamada T (1982) Development of a turbulence closure model for geophysical fluid problems. Rev Geophys Space Phys 20:851–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Naik P, D’Sa EJ, Grippo M, Condrey R, Fleeger J, (2011) Absorption properties of shoal-dominated waters in the Atchafalaya Shelf, Louisiana, USA. Int J Remote Sens 32:4383–4406Google Scholar
  32. O'Reilly JE et al (2000) SeaWiFS postlaunch calibration and validation analyses, part 3. NASA Tech. Memo. 2000-206892, Vol. 11. Hooker SB, Firestone ER (eds) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 49 ppGoogle Scholar
  33. Qiao F, Yuan Y, Yang Y, Zheng Q, Xia C, Ma J (2004) Wave-induced mixing in the upper ocean: distribution and application to a global ocean circulation model. Geophys Res Lett 31(11):L11303. doi: 10.1029/2004GL019824 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Qu T, Kim Y-Y, Yaremchuk M (2004) Can Luzon Strait transport play a role in conveying the impact of ENSO to the South China Sea? J Clim 17:3644–3657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smagorinsky J (1963) General circulation experiments with the primitive equations. Mon Weather Rev 91:99–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Su J (2004) Overview of the South China Sea circulation and its influence on the coastal physical oceanography outside the Pearl River Estuary. Cont Shelf Res 24:1745–1760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Su J, Pohlmann T (2009) Wind and topography influence on an upwelling system at the eastern Hainan coast. J Geophys Res 114:C06017. doi: 10.1029/2008JC005018 Google Scholar
  38. Su J, Wang J, Pohlmann T, Xu D (2011) The influence of meterological variation on the upwelling system off east Hainan during summer 2007–2008. Ocean Dyn 61:717–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Su J, Xu M, Pohlmann T, Xu D, Wang D-R (2013) A western boundary upwelling system response to recent climate variation (1960–2006). Cont Shelf Res 57:3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang J (1985) A mathematical model of the steady circulation in the South China Sea. J Ocean College of Shandong 15(3):22–32 (in Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  41. Wang J (1996) Global linear stability of the 2-D shallow water equations: an application of the distributive theorem of roots for polynomials on the unit circle. Mon Weather Rev 124(6):1301–1310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang J, Ikeda M (1997a) Inertial stability and phase error of time integration schemes in ocean general circulation models. Mon Weather Rev 125(9):2316–2327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wang J, Ikeda M (1997b) Diagnosing ocean unstable baroclinic waves and meanders using quasi-geostrophic equations and Q-vector method. J Phys Oceanogr 27(6):1158–1172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wang J, Mo R, Gao Z, Yin Z, Chen M (1999) Sensitivity study of coastal plumes. Acta Oceanol Sin 18:147–166Google Scholar
  45. Wang C, Wang W, Wang D, Wang Q (2006) Interannual variability of the South China Sea associated with El Niño. J Geophys Res 111:C03023. doi: 10.1029/2005JC003333 Google Scholar
  46. Wang J, Hu H, Mizobata K, Saitoh S (2009) Seasonal variations of sea ice and ocean circulation in the Bering Sea: a model-data fusion study. J Geophys Res 114:C02011. doi: 10.1029/2008JC004727 Google Scholar
  47. Wang J, Bai X, Wang D, Wang DR, Hu H, Yang X (2012) Impacts of the Siberian High and Arctic Oscillation on the East Asia winter monsoon: driving downwelling in the western Bering Sea. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag 15:20–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang J, Hu H, Goes J, Miksis-Olds J, Mouw C, D’Sa E, Gomes H, Wang DR, Mizobata K, Saitoh S, Luo L (2013) Modeling seasonal variations of sea ice and plankton in the Bering and Chukchi Seas during 2007–2008. J Geophys Res 118. doi: 10.1029/2012JC008322
  49. Wang J, Mizobata K, Bai X, Hu H, Jin M, Yu Y, Ikeda M, Johnson W, Perie W, Fujisaki A (2014) A modeling study of coastal circulation and landfast ice in the nearshore Beaufort and Chukchi seas using CIOM. J Geophys Res Oceans 119. doi: 10.1002/2013JC009258
  50. Wu Z, Li L (2003) Introduction to studies of upwelling in the South China Sea. Taiwan Strait 22(2):269–277 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  51. Wu B, Wang J (2002a) Winter Arctic Oscillation, Siberian High and the East Asia winter monsoon. Geophys Res Lett 29(19):1897–1900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wu B, Wang J (2002b) Possible impacts of winter Arctic Oscillation on Siberian High and the East Asia winter monsoon. Adv Atmos Sci 19:297–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wyrtki K (1961) Scientific results of marine investigations of the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand 1959–1961. Naga report, vol. 2. University of California, San Diego, pp 164–169Google Scholar
  54. Wyrtki K (1965) The average annual heat balance of the North Pacific Ocean and its relation to ocean circulation. J Geophys Res 70(18):4547–4559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Xie S-P, Xie Q, Wang D, Liu WT (2003) Summer upwelling in the South China Sea and its role in regional climate variations. J Geophys Res 108:3261. doi: 10.1029/2003JC001867 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Xu S, Qiu Z, Chen H (1982) Description of ocean circulation in the South China Sea. Proceedings of Chinese Soc. Limnol. and Meteorol. Science Publisher, Beijing, pp 137–145 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  57. Yu W (1987) A preliminary study of the upwelling system in the northern South China Sea. Ocean Sci 6:7–10 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  58. Yuan Y, Qiao F, Hua F, Wan Z (1999) The development of a coastal circulation numerical model: 1. Wave-induced mixing and wave-current interaction. J Hydrodyn Ser A 14:1–8 (In Chinese with an English abstract) Google Scholar
  59. Zhu X, Liu G, Wang J, Wang H, Bao X, Hu W (2015) A numerical study on the relationships of the variations of volume transport around the China Seas. J Mar Syst 145:15–36. doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.12.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hainan Marine Development and Design InstituteHaikouChina
  2. 2.NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research LaboratoryAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER), School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations