AbstractA process-oriented numerical modeling study was conducted to investigate the formation and underlying forcing of an anticyclonic eddy train observed in the northern South China Sea. Observations showed that long-lived anticyclonic eddies formed an eddy train along an eastward separated jet across the northern South China Sea in summer. The eddy train plays a critical role in regulating ocean circulation in the region. Forced by the southwesterly monsoon and prevailing dipole wind stress curl in the summer, the northward coastal jet separates from the west boundary of the South China Sea basin and overshoots northeastward into the basin. The anticyclonic recirculation of the separated jet forms the first anticyclonic eddy in the eddy train. The jet meanders downstream with a strong negative shear vorticity that forms a second and a third anticyclonic eddy along the jet’s path. These three eddies form the eddy train. These eddies weaken gradually with depth from surface, but they can extend to approximately 500 m deep. The inherent stratification in the region regulates the three-dimensional scale of the anticyclonic eddies and constrains their intensity vertical extension by weakening the geostrophic balance within these eddies. Analyses of the vorticity balance indicate that the eddy train’s negative vorticity originates from the beta effect of northward western boundary current and from the subsequent downstream vorticity advection in the jet. The jet separation is a necessary condition for the formation of the eddy train, and the enhanced stratification, increased summer wind stress, and associated negative wind stress curl are favorable conditions for the formation of the anticyclonic eddies.
Journal of Physical Oceanography – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 4, 2017
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