Open-ocean forcing in the South and East China Seas

Jiayan Yang, Physical Oceanography


Project Funded 2008:

Along the East Asian Marginal Seas flows a coastal warm current that starts from the South China Sea, goes through the East China and Yellow Seas, and enters the Japan/East Sea. This coastal current system consists of the South China Sea Warm Current, the Taiwan Warm Current, the Yellow Sea Warm Current and the Tsushima Warm Current and flows over shelves within 200m isobaths. What is fascinating is that this current persists its northward direction in all season even though the annual wind stress is southward against it. The mechanisms for driving this counter-wind current remained unexplained until recently. The PI and his collaborators have used a suite of models and found that the Kuroshio Current is the dominant force in maintaining this current. In this proposed study, the PI plans to extend the study to the time-dependent interactions between Kuroshio and this coastal warm current. The goal is to develop a prediction skill based on real-time wind-stress forcing and open-ocean observation (sea surface height) for changes of physical environments from the South to East China Seas. The prediction model can also be helpful in developing a prediction model for red tide occurrences off the Chinese and Korean coasts (there have been some observation evidences that the red tide occurrences are closely correlated to the transport of this coastal current).