Skip to main content

Numerical simulation of the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea by a passive tracer

Abstract

Owing to lack of observational data and accurate definition, it is difficult to distinguish the Kuroshio intrusion water from the Pacific Ocean into the South China Sea (SCS). By using a passive tracer to identify the Kuroshio water based on an observation-validated three-dimensional numerical model MITgcm, the spatio-temporal variation of the Kuroshio intrusion water into the SCS has been investigated. Our result shows the Kuroshio intrusion is of distinct seasonal variation in both horizontal and vertical directions. In winter, the intruding Kuroshio water reaches the farthest, almost occupying the area from 18°N to 23°N and 114°E to 121°E, with a small branch flowing towards the Taiwan Strait. The intrusion region of the Kuroshio water decreases with depth gradually. However, in summer, the Kuroshio water is confined to the east of 118°E without any branch reaching the Taiwan Strait; meanwhile the intrusion region of the Kuroshio water increases from the surface to the depth about 205 m, then it decreases with depth. The estimated annual mean of Kuroshio Intrusion Transport (KIT) via the Luzon Strait is westward to the SCS in an amount of–3.86×106 m3/s, which is larger than the annual mean of Luzon Strait Transport (LST) of–3.15×106 m3/s. The KIT above 250 m accounts for 60%–80% of the LST throughout the entire water column. By analyzing interannual variation of the Kuroshio intrusion from the year 2003 to 2012, we find that the Kuroshio branch flowing into the Taiwan Strait is the weaker in winter of La Niña years than those in El Niño and normal years, which may be attributed to the wind stress curl off the southeast China then. Furthermore, the KIT correlates the Niño 3.4 index from 2003 to 2012 with a correlation coefficient of 0.41, which is lower than that of the LST with the Niño 3.4 index, i.e., 0.78.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Adcroft A, Hill C, Campin J M, et al. 2004. Overview of the formulation and numerics of the MITGCM. Proceedings of the ECMWF Seminar Series on Recent Developments in Numerical Methods for Atmospheric and Ocean Modelling, ECMWF, 139–149

    Google Scholar 

  • Cai Shuqun, Liu Hailong, Li Wei, et al. 2005. Application of LICOM to the numerical study of the water exchange between the South China Sea and its adjacent oceans. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 24(4): 10–19

    Google Scholar 

  • Centurioni L R, Niiler P P, Lee D K. 2004. Observations of inflow of Philippine Sea surface water into the South China Sea through the Luzon Strait. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34(1): 113–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chu P C, Li Rongfeng. 2000. South China Sea isopycnal-surface circulation. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 30(9): 2419–2438

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fang Guohong, Susanto D, Soesilo I, et al. 2005. A note on the South China Sea shallow interocean circulation. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 22(6): 946–954

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farris A, Wimbush M. 1996. Wind-induced kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea. Journal of Oceanography, 52(6): 771–784

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • He Yinghui, Cai Shuqun, Wang Dongxiao, et al. 2015. A model study of Luzon cold eddies in the northern South China Sea. Deep-Sea Research: Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers, 97: 107–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hsin Y C, Wu C R, Chao S Y. 2012. An updated examination of the Luzon Strait transport. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117(C3): C03022

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hu Jianyu, Kawamura H, Hong Huasheng, et al. 2000. A review on the currents in the South China Sea: seasonal circulation, South China Sea warm current and Kuroshio intrusion. Journal of Oceanography, 56(6): 607–624

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Isobe A, Beardsley R C. 2006. An estimate of the cross-frontal transport at the shelf break of the East China Sea with the finite volume coastal ocean model. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C3): C03012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim Y Y, Qu Tangdong, Jensen T, et al. 2004. Seasonal and interannual variations of the North Equatorial Current bifurcation in a high-resolution OGCM. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(C3): C03040

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee J S, Takeshi M. 2007. Intrusion of Kuroshio water onto the continental shelf of the East China Sea. Journal of Oceanography, 63(2): 309–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li Li, Nowlin W D, Su Jilan. 1998. Anticyclonic rings from the Kuroshio in the South China Sea. Deep-Sea Research: Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers, 45(9): 1469–1482

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liang W D, Tang T Y, Yang Y J, et al. 2003. Upper-ocean currents around Taiwan. Deep-Sea Research: Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography, 50(6–7): 1085–1105

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liang W D, Yang Y J, Tang T Y, et al. 2008. Kuroshio in the Luzon Strait. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113(C8): C08048

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu Yonggang, Weisberg R H, Vignudelli S, et al. 2014. Evaluation of altimetry-derived surface current products using Lagrangian drifter trajectories in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research, 119(5): 2827–2842

    Google Scholar 

  • Liu Yonggang, Weisberg R H, Yuan Yaochu. 2008. Patterns of upper layer circulation variability in the South China Sea from satellite altimetry using the self-organizing map. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 27(S): 129–144

    Google Scholar 

  • Lu Jiuyou, Liu Qinyu. 2013. Gap-leaping Kuroshio and blocking westward-propagating Rossby wave and eddy in the Luzon Strait. Journal of Geophysical Research, 118(3): 1170–1181

    Google Scholar 

  • Metzger E J, Hurlburt H E. 1996. Coupled dynamics of the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research, 101(C5): 12331–12352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Metzger E J, Hurlburt H E. 2001. The nondeterministic nature of Kuroshio penetration and Eddy shedding in the South China Sea. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 31(7): 1712–1732

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nan Feng, He Zhigang, Zhou Hui, et al. 2011. Three long-lived anticyclonic eddies in the northern South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(C5): C05002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nan Feng, Xue Huijie, Chai Fei, et al. 2013. Weakening of the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea over the past two decades. Journal of Climate, 26(20): 8097–8110

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nan Feng, Xue Huijie, Yu Fei. 2015. Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea: a review. Progress in Oceanography, 137: 314–333

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nitani H. 1972. Beginning of the Kuroshio. In: Stommel H, Yoshida K. Kuroshio, Its Physical Aspects. Tokyo, Japan: University of Tokyo Press, 129–163

    Google Scholar 

  • Pemberton P, Nilsson J, Meier H E M. 2014. Arctic Ocean freshwater composition, pathways and transformations from a passive tracer simulation. Tellus, 66: 23988

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qiu Bo, Lukas R. 1996. Seasonal and interannual variability of the North Equatorial Current, the Mindanao Current, and the Kuroshio along the Pacific western boundary. Journal of Geophysical Research, 101(C5): 12315–12330

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qu Tangdong, Kim Y Y, Yaremchuk M, et al. 2004. Can Luzon Strait transport play a role in conveying the impact of ENSO to the South China Sea?. Journal of Climate, 17(18): 3644–3657

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qu Tangdong, Mitsudera H, Yamagata T. 2000. Intrusion of the North Pacific waters into the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 105(C3): 6415–6424

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaw P T. 1989. The intrusion of water masses into the sea southwest of Taiwan. Journal of Geophysical Research, 94(C12): 18213–18226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaw P T. 1991. The seasonal variation of the intrusion of the Philip-pine Sea water into the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 96(C1): 821–827

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang Qingye, Cui Hong, Zhang Shuwen, et al. 2009. Water transports through the four main straits around the South China Sea. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 27(2): 229–236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang Chunzai, Wang Weiqiang, Wang Dongxiao, et al. 2006. Interannual variability of the South China Sea associated with El Niño. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C3): C03023

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Guihua, Wang Dongxiao, Zhou Tianjun. 2012. Upper layer circulation in the Luzon Strait. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 15(1): 39–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu C R, Chiang T L. 2007. Mesoscale eddies in the northern South China Sea. Deep-Sea Research: Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography, 54(14–15): 1575–1588

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu C R, Hsin Y C. 2012. The forcing mechanism leading to the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117(C7): C07015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wyrtki K. 1961. Scientific results of marine investigations of the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand 1959–1961. Naga report, 2: 1–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xiu Peng, Chai Fei, Shi Lei, et al. 2010. A census of eddy activities in the South China Sea during 1993–2007. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115(C3): C03012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xue Huijie, Chai Fei, Pettigrew N, et al. 2004. Kuroshio intrusion and the circulation in the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(C2): C02017

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang Dezhou, Yin Baoshu, Liu Zhiliang, et al. 2011. Numerical study of the ocean circulation on the East China Sea shelf and a Kuroshio bottom branch northeast of Taiwan in summer. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(C5): C05015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yaremchuk M, McCreary J, Yu Zuojun, et al. 2009. The South China Sea throughflow retrieved from climatological data. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 39(3): 753–767

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yaremchuk M, Qu Tangdong. 2004. Seasonal variability of the largescale currents near the coast of the Philippines. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34(4): 844–855

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yuan Yaochu, Liao Guanghong, Yang Chenghao, et al. 2014. Summer Kuroshio intrusion through the Luzon Strait confirmed from observations and a diagnostic model in summer 2009. Progress in Oceanography, 121: 44–59

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Wenzhou, Zhuang Xuefen, Chen C A, et al. 2015. The impact of Kuroshio water on the source water of the southeastern Taiwan Strait: numerical results. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 34(9): 23–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the use of the HPCC for the numeric simulations at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shuqun Cai.

Additional information

Foundation item: The Special Fund of Strategic Leading Science and Technology from Chinese Academy of Sciences under contract Nos XDA11020305 and XDA13030103; the National Basic Research Program of China under contract No. 2013CB956101; the National Science Foundation Council Grant of China under contract Nos 41206009, 41430964 and 41521005; the Chinese Academy of Sciences/State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams under contract No. 20140491532.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Liu, T., Xu, J., He, Y. et al. Numerical simulation of the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea by a passive tracer. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 35, 1–12 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-016-0930-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-016-0930-x

Key words

  • Kuroshio intrusion
  • spatio-temporal variation
  • volume transport
  • numerical model
  • South China Sea