Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 68, Issue 4–5, pp 485–495 | Cite as

Regional characteristics of the effects of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation on the sea level in the China Sea

  • Hui Wang
  • Kexiu Liu
  • Aimei Wang
  • Jianlong Feng
  • Wenjing Fan
  • Qiulin Liu
  • Yao Xu
  • Zengjian Zhang


Based on coastal tide level, satellite altimetry, and sea surface temperature (SST) data of offshore areas of China’s coast and the equatorial Pacific Ocean, the regional characteristics of the effects of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on the sea level in the China Sea were investigated. Singular value decomposition results show a significant teleconnection between the sea level in the China Sea and the SST of the tropical Pacific Ocean; the correlation coefficient decreases from south to north. Data from tide gauges along China’s coast show that the seasonal sea-level variations are significantly correlated with the ENSO. In addition, China’s coast was divided into three regions based on distinctive regional characteristics. Results obtained show that the annual amplitude of sea level was low during El Niño developing years, and especially so during the El Niño year. The ENSO intensity determined the response intensity of the annual amplitude of the sea level. The response region (amplitude) was relatively large for strong ENSO intensities. Significant oscillation periods at a timescale of 4–7 years existed in the sea level of the three regions. The largest amplitude of oscillation was 1.5 cm, which was the fluctuation with the 7-year period in the South China Sea. The largest amplitude of oscillation in the East China Sea was about 1.3 cm. The amplitude of oscillation with the 6-year period in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea was the smallest (less than 1 cm).


Sea level El Niño-Southern Oscillation Singular value decomposition Sea surface temperature 



This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC1404200 and 2016YFC1401900), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41706020 and No. 41406032), and the Open Fund of the Key Laboratory of Research on Marine Hazards Forecasting.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Wang
    • 1
  • Kexiu Liu
    • 1
  • Aimei Wang
    • 1
  • Jianlong Feng
    • 1
  • Wenjing Fan
    • 1
  • Qiulin Liu
    • 1
  • Yao Xu
    • 2
  • Zengjian Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Marine Data and Information ServiceTianjinChina
  2. 2.Hangzhou Normal UniversityHangzhouChina

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