Interannual mode of sea level in the South China Sea and the roles of El Niño and El Niño Modoki

C. W.June Chang*, Huang Hsiung Hsu, Chau Ron Wu, Woei Jen Sheu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


ENSO-scale variation of the summer ocean circulation in the South China Sea (SCS) is investigated. The interannual mode of SSH features a north-south dipole pattern that modulates the cold jet off Vietnam. During the summers before and after the El Niño, the mode has opposite signs of extrema. Strengthened circulations couple with the cold SSTAs during the El Niño developing summers; weakened circulations accompany the warm SSTAs during the decaying summers. Heat advection by the basin circulation modulates the SST variation. The impact of the 1997 El Niño on the SCS circulation contrasting that of 1994 and 2002 El Niõ Modoki is assessed. With moderate SST warming but further westward shift of the low-level convergence of the atmosphere in the equatorial Pacific, the El Niño Modoki phenomenon enhanced the western North Pacific summer monsoon inside the SCS, driving stronger circulations in both the summers of 1994 and 2002.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL03601
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Feb 16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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