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Seasonal variation of eddy shedding from the Kuroshio intrusion in the Luzon Strait


Altimeter data and output from the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model global assimilation run are used to study the seasonal variation of eddy shedding from the Kuroshio intrusion in the Luzon Strait. The results suggest that most eddy shedding events occur from December through March, and no eddy shedding event occurs in June, September, or October. About a month before eddy shedding, the Kuroshio intrusion extends into the South China Sea and a closed anticyclonic eddy appears inside the Kuroshio loop which then detaches from the Kuroshio intrusion. Anticyclonic eddies detached from December through February move westward at a speed of about 0.1 m s−1 after shedding, whereas eddies detached in other months either stay at the place of origin or move westward at a very slow speed (less than 0.06 m s−1). The HYCOM outputs and QuikSCAT wind data clearly show that the seasonal variation of eddy shedding is influenced by the monsoon winds. A comparison between eddy volume and integrated Ekman transport indicates that, once the integrated Ekman transport exceeds 2 × 1012 m3 (which roughly corresponds to the volume of an eddy), the Kuroshio intrusion expands and an eddy shedding event occurs within 1 month. We infer that the Ekman drift of the northeasterly monsoon pushes the Kuroshio intrusion into the SCS, creates a net westward transport into the Strait, and leads to an eddy detachment from the Kuroshio.

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The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and detailed suggestions to improve the manuscript. We thank Kathy Fearon for help with the English writing. The altimeter data are obtained from the Aviso Web site at Y. Jia is supported by Chinese National Key Basic Research Program (2007CB411803) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (40706005). E.P. Chassignet acknowledges the support of NSF grant OCE-0752225.

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Correspondence to Yinglai Jia.

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Jia, Y., Chassignet, E.P. Seasonal variation of eddy shedding from the Kuroshio intrusion in the Luzon Strait. J Oceanogr 67, 601–611 (2011).

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  • Eddy shedding
  • Kuroshio intrusion
  • Luzon Strait
  • Seasonal variation