Heat oscillation in the upper ocean of the southern South China Sea
He Youhai, Guan Cuihua and Gan Zijun South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Academia Sinica, Guangzhou 510301, China
Data used in this study are temperature/depth profiles taken over the upper 400 m of the ocean in the southern South China Sea (4°-14° N, 106°-120° E) for the period 1961-1973. The data are analyzed on the grid 2 (latitude) by 2 (longitude) in space and bimonthly in time. The vertically averaged temperature (TAV) over the upper 100 m of the ocean is calculated as the estimate of the heat content in the upper ocean.The TAV is cooler in the northwest region of the study area and warmer in the southeast in the annual and seasonal mean figures. The first EOF (Empirical Orthogonal Function) of anomalous TAV accounts for 41 % of the total variance for the period 1961-1973. The time function associated with it displays a significant interannual changes in the heat content, with 2-4 a oscillation period and associated with the ENSO events. During ENSO event TAV increases with the tendency of increasing towards equator along the basin. This anomalous states also exist in the water layers below 100 m depth. The isotherm is usually deepened during ENSO period. The deepened amplitude of the isotherm decreases with depth, and varies with ENSO events, seasons and regions. The reason for that is related to weak monsoon in El Nino year and associated eddy activity. Besides this, there is a gain in heat in the upper ocean because of the strong subtropical high during ENSO period.