Despite numerous previous estimates of Luzon Strait transport (LST), we attempt an update using a fine-resolution model. With these improvements, the circulation in and around Luzon Strait shows up rather realistically. Intrusion of a Kuroshio meander into the South China Sea (SCS) is seasonally varying. The LST, especially in the upper ocean, caused by a small difference between the large meander inflow and outflow, is also seasonally varying and subject to large standard deviation. The annual mean LST is estimated to be westward (-4.0 ± 5.1 Sv) along 120.75°E. We have also conducted process of elimination experiments to assess the relative importance of open ocean inflow/outflow, wind stress, and surface heat flux in regulating LST and its seasonality. The East Asian monsoon winds stand out as the predominant forcing. Without it, the upper ocean LST changes from westward to eastward (ranging up to 4 Sv) and, with misaligned seasonality, triggering an inflow from the Mindoro Strait to the SCS to replenish the water mass loss. Discounting monsoon winds, sea level in the Sulu Sea is generally higher because it receives the Indonesian Throughflow before the SCS, which causes an inflow from the Sulu Sea to the SCS. On the other hand, the annual mean wind from the northeast invites outflow from the SCS to the Sulu Sea (or inflow from the Luzon Strait). Weighing the two competing factors together, we see the cessation of northeast monsoon as a condition favorable for the Luzon Strait outflow or the Mindoro Strait inflow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science