Interannual variability of the South China Sea in a data assimilation model

Chau Ron Wu*, C. W.June Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Sea surface height (SSH) variations in the South China Sea are examined using results from a data assimilation model. After the SSH data have had the annual cycle removed, principal component analysis illustrates two distinct anomaly patterns. The first mode, strongest off Vietnam, would affect the basin-wide gyre intensity. The second mode consists of a meridional dipole feature with a nodal line around 12°N and is related to the development of the eastward jet and upwelling off Vietnam. Both EOF modes have significant interannual variations and are highly correlated to the ENSO events. The leading phase of mode 2 coefficient provides preliminary evidence for the air-sea interaction and the Pacific-East Asian teleconnection. An innovative mechanism is proposed to describe a weakened upwelling off Luzon in winter 1998. An extra-strong basin-wide warming in summer 1998 persists into fall and winter, preventing the formation of winter upwelling off Luzon in that year.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL17611
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sept 16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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