Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Evolution and propagation of a mesoscale eddy in the northern South China Sea during winter

  • Changjian Liu
  • Yan Du
  • Wei Zhuang
  • Huayong Xia
  • Qiang Xie


In situ observations, satellite data, and the output from an eddy-resolving ocean circulation model were used to study the generations and propagations of an anticyclonic eddy in the northern South China Sea (NSCS) during the winter of 2009–2010. In the NSCS, the anticyclonic eddy firstly appeared to the west of the Luzon Strait, migrated generally along the continental slope and dissipated around the Xisha Archipelago. The evolution of the warm eddy contains three phases: development, maturation, and decay. The eddy mainly stayed near 119.7°E in December and then gradually moved to 118.7°E until January 15, when its intensity, as indicated by the thermocline temperature and salinity anomalies, increased significantly, reflecting the growth of the eddy. The eddy reached its peak on January 15 and persisted until February 23. During this period, the eddy propagated westward to 116.4°E. After, the warm eddy weakened significantly and dissipated finally near the Xisha Archipelago.

Key words

northern South China Sea anticyclonic eddy propagation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chassignet E P, Hurlburt H E, Metzger E J, et al. 2009. U.S. GODAE: global ocean prediction with the hybridc oordinate ocean model (HYCOM). Oceanography, 22(2): 64–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen Gengxin, Gan Jianping, Xie Qiang, et al. 2012. Eddy heat and salt transports in the South China Sea and their seasonal modulations. J Geophys Res, 117: C05021, doi: 10.1029/2011JC007724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen Gengxin, Hou Yijun, Chu Xiaoqing. 2011. Mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea: mean properties spatiotemporal variability, and impact on thermohaline structure. J Geophys Res, 116: C06018, doi: 10.1029/2010JC006716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheng Xuhua, Qi Yiquan. 2010. Variations of eddy kinetic energy in the South China Sea. J Oceanogr, 66: 85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chu P C, Fan C W, Lozano C J, et al. 1998. An airborne expendable bathythermograph survey of the South China Sea, May 1995. J Geophys Res, 103: 21637–21652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dong C, Nencioli F, Liu Y, et al. 2011. An automated approach to detect oceanic eddies from satellite remotely sensed sea surface temperature data. IEEE Geosci Remote Sens Lett, 10.1109/LGRS.2011.2155029. 1–5Google Scholar
  7. Fang Wendong, Fang Guohong, Shi Ping, et al. 2002. Seasonal structures of upper layer circulation in the southern South China Sea from in situ observations. J Geophys Res, 107(C11): 3202, doi:10.1029/2002JC001343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. He Zhigang, Wang Dongxiao, Hu Jianyu. 2002. Features of eddy kinetic energy and variations of upper circulation in the South China Sea. Acta Oceanoogical Sinica, 21(2): 305–314Google Scholar
  9. Hu Jianyu, Zheng Quanan, Sun Zhenyu, et al. 2012. Penetration of nonlinear Rossby eddies into South China Sea evidenced by cruise data. J Geophys Res, 117: C03010, doi: 10.1029/2011JC007525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hwang C, Chen S A. 2000. Circulations and eddies over the South China Sea derived from TOPEX/Poseidon altimetry. J Geophys Res, 105: 3943–3965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jia Yinglai, Liu Qinyu, Liu Wei. 2005. Primary study of the mechanism of eddy shedding from the Kuroshio bend in Luzon Strait. J Oceanogr, 61: 1017–1027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Li Li, Jing Chunsheng, Zhu Dayong. 2007. Coupling and propagating of mesoscale sea level variability between the western Pacific and the South China Sea. Chin Sci Bull, 52(12): 1699–1707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li Li, Nowlin WD, Su Jilan. 1998. Anticyclonic rings from the Kuroshio in the South China Sea. Deep-Sea Res (Part I), 45: 1469–1482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Li Yanchu, Li Li, Jing Chunshen, et al. 2004. Temporal and spatial variabilities of sea surface heights in the northern South China Sea. Chinese Science Bulletin, 49(5): 491–498Google Scholar
  15. Liu Changjian, Zhuang Wei, Xia Huayong, et al. 2012. Mesoscale observation in the northeast South China Sea during winter 2009–2010. Acta Oceanoleqica Sinica (in Chinese), 34(1): 8–16Google Scholar
  16. Liu Zhengyu, Yang Haijun, Liu Qinyu. 2001. Regional dynamics of seasonal variability in the South China Sea. J Phys Oceanogr, 31: 272–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nencioli F, Dong C, Dickey T, et al. 2010. A vector geometry-based eddy detection algorithm and its application to a high-resolution numerical model product and high-frequency radar surface velocities in the Southern California Bight. J Atmos Oceanic Technol, 27: 564–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Qu T, Mitsudera H, Yamagata T. 2000. Intrusion of the North Pacific waters into the South China Sea. J Geophys Res, 150: 6415–6424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shaw P T. 1991. Seasonal variation of the intrusion of the Philippine Sea water into the South China Sea. J Geophys Res, 96: 821–827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Song Y S, Hu J H, Ho C R, et al. 1995. Cold cool eddy detected in South China Sea. Eos Trans. AGU, 76: 345–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Su Jilan. 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
  22. Wang L, Koblinsky C J, Howden S. 2000. Mesoscale variability in the South China Sea from the TOPEX/Poseidon altimetry data. Deep-Sea Res (Part I), 47: 681–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wang Guihua, Su Jilan, Chu P C. 2003. Mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea observed with altimeter data. Geophys Res Lett, 30(21): 2121, doi: 10.1029/2003GL018532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wang Dongxiao, Wang Weiqiang, Shi Ping, et al. 2003. Establishment and adjustment of monsoon-driven circulation in the South China Sea. Science in China: Ser D, 46: 173–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wang Dongxiao, Xu Hongzhou, Lin Jing, et al. 2008. Anticyclonic eddies in the northeastern South China Sea during winter 2003/2004. J Oceanogr, 64: 925–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wu C R, Chiang T L. 2007. Mesoscale eddies in the northern South China Sea. Deep-Sea Res (Part II), 54: 1575–1588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wyrtki K. 1961. Scientific results of marine investigation of the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. Naga Rep, 2. La Jolla, Calif: Scripps Inst of Oceanogr, 105Google Scholar
  28. Xiu P, Chai F, Shi L, et al. 2010. A census of eddy activities in the South China Sea during 1993–2007. J Geophys Res, 115: C03012, doi: 10.1029/2009JC005657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yuan Dongliang, Han Weiqing, Hu Dunxin. 2006. Surface Kuroshio path in the Luzon Strait area derived from satellite remote sensing data. J Geophys Res, 111: C11007, doi: 10.1029/2005JC003412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhuang Wei, Du Yan, Wang Dongxiao, et al. 2010. Pathways of mesoscale variability in the South China Sea. Chin J Oceano Limno, 28(5): 1055–1067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhuang Wei, Xie Shangping, Wang Dongxiao, et al. 2010. Intraseasonal variability in sea surface height over the South China Sea. J Geophys Res, 115: C04010, doi: 10.1029/2009JC005647CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Changjian Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yan Du
    • 1
  • Wei Zhuang
    • 1
  • Huayong Xia
    • 2
  • Qiang Xie
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.South China Sea Marine Engineering Surveying CenterSouth China Sea Branch, State Oceanic AdministrationGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations