The three-dimensional structure and seasonal variation of the North Pacific meridional overturning circulation

  • Hongwei Liu
  • Qilong ZhangEmail author
  • Yongliang Duan
  • Yijun Hou


The three-dimensional structure and the seasonal variation of the North Pacific meridional overturning circulation (NPMOC) are analyzed based on the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation data and Argo profiling float data. The NPMOC displays a multi-cell structure with four cells in the North Pacific altogether. The TC and the STC are a strong clockwise meridional cell in the low latitude ocean and a weaker clockwise meridional cell between 7°N and 18°N, respectively, while the DTC and the subpolar cell are a weaker anticlockwise meridional cell between 3°N and 15°N and a weakest anticlockwise meridional cell between 35°N and 50°N, respectively.

The DTC, the TC and the STC are all of very strong seasonal variations. As to the DTC, the southward transport is strongest in fall and weakest in spring. For the TC, the northward transport is strongest in winter and weakest in spring, while the southward transport is strongest in fall and weakest in spring, which is associated with the strong southward flow of the DTC in fall. As the STC, the northward transport is strongest in winter and weakest in summer, while the southward transport is strongest in summer and weakest in spring. This seasonal difference may be associated with the DTC. The zonal wind stress and the east-west slope of sea level play important roles in the seasonal variations of the TC, the STC and the DTC.

Key words

North Pacific meridional overturning circulation three-dimensional structure seasonal variation 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongwei Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Qilong Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yongliang Duan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yijun Hou
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves (KLOCAW)Chinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  3. 3.The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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