In addition to widely discussed seasonal variability, the barrier layer (BL) of the South China Sea (SCS) also exhibits significant intraseasonal variability (ISV) and plays an important role in the upper heat and salt balances. The characteristics and mechanisms of spatiotemporal variations in the BL are investigated using an eddy-resolving ocean model OFES (OGCM For the Earth Simulator) ouput and related atmospheric and oceanic processes. The active intraseasonal BL variability in the SCS occurs mainly during the late summer/autumn and winter and exhibits remarkable differences between these two periods. The BL ISV in late summer/autumn occurs in the southern basin, while in winter, it is limited to the northwestern basin. To further discuss the evolution and driving thermodynamic mechanisms, we quantify the processes that control the variability of intraseasonal BL. Different mechanisms for the intraseasonal BL variability for these two active periods are investigated based on the case study and composite analysis. During late summer/autumn, the active BL in the southern basin is generated by advected and local freshwater, and then decays rapidly with the enhanced wind. In winter, anticyclonic eddy activity is associated with the evolution of the BL by affecting the thermocline and halocline variations, while wind stress and wind stress curl have no obvious influence on BL.
Ocean Dynamics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 20, 2018
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