Why are there upwellings on the northern shelf of Taiwan under northeasterly winds?

Yu Lin Chang, Lie Yauw Oey*, Chau Ron Wu, Hung Fu Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Upwellings are observed on the northern shelf of Taiwan during northeasterly winds. Analytical and realistic numerical models are used to explain how vertical motions are created by divergence and convergence produced by wind acting on the vorticity field of two strong jets: the Kuroshio and the Taiwan Warm Current. The seaward increase in cyclonic vorticity near the Kuroshio's western edge favors a stronger Ekman transport away from the jet, producing upwelling at the shelfbreak under a northeasterly wind. A similar mechanism for generating vertical motions is found across the Taiwan Warm Current. The numerical model results indicate that the vorticity effects can account for up to 30%-50% of the total variation in the surface Ekman transport. Except during summer's weak southwesterlies, northeasterly wind is dominant over the East China Sea, suggesting that the vorticity effects may be prominent in the observed shelfbreak upwelling in nonsummer months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1417
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun


  • Currents
  • Jets
  • Upwelling
  • Wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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