Numerical study on the summer upwelling system in the northern continental shelf of the South China Sea
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A three-dimensional baroclinic nonlinear numerical model is employed to investigate the summer upwelling in the northern continental shelf of the South China Sea (NCSCS) and the mechanisms of the local winds inducing the coastal upwelling, associated with the QuikSCAT wind data. First, the persistent signals of the summer upwelling are illustrated by the climatological the Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Sea Surface Temperature (SST) image over 1985-2006 and field observations in 2006 summer. Then, after the successful simulation of the summer upwelling in the NCSCS, four numerical experiments are conducted to explore the different effects of local winds, including the wind stress and wind stress curl, on the coastal upwelling in two typical strong summer upwelling regions of the NCSCS. The modeled results indicate that the summer upwelling is a seasonal common phenomenon during June-September in the NCSCS with the spatial extent of a basin-scale. Typical continental shelf upwelling characteristics are clearly shown in the coastal surface and subsurface water, such as low temperature, high salinity and high potential density in the east of the Hainan Island, the east of the Leizhou Peninsula and the southeast of the Zhanjiang Bay (noted as the Qiongdong-QD), and the inshore areas from the Shantou Coast to the Nanri Islands of the Fujian Coast (noted as the Yuedong-YD). The analysis of the QuikSCAT wind data and modeled upwelling index suggests that the local winds play significant roles in causing the coastal upwelling, but the alongshore wind stress and wind stress curl have different contributions to the upwelling in the Qiongdong (QDU) and the coastal upwelling in the Yuedong (YDU), respectively. Furthermore, model results from the numerical experiments show that in the YD the stable alongshore wind stress is a very important dynamic factor to induce the coastal upwelling but the wind stress curl has little contribution and even unfavorable to the YDU. However, in the QD the coastal upwelling is strongly linked to the local wind stress curl. It is also found that not only the offshore Ekman transport driven by the alongshore wind stress, the wind stress curl-induced Ekman pumping also plays a crucial effect on the QDU. Generally, the wind stress curl even has more contributions to the QDU than the alongshore wind stress.
Continental Shelf Research
© 2008 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.