Journal article

The flushing and exchange of the South China Sea derived from salt and mass conservation

Yang Liu, John AT Bye, Yuzhu You, Xianwen Bao, Dexing Wu



In this paper, we use two kinds of hydrographic data, historical cruise data, Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography (Argo) float data, and atmospheric data to study the water exchange between the South China Sea (SCS) and the Pacific Ocean through the Luzon Strait. The annual mean distributions of temperature and salinity at five different levels in the SCS and the adjacent Pacific Ocean are presented, which indicate the occurrence of active water exchange through the Luzon Strait. The flushing and exchange of the SCS are then determined by the application of salt and mass conservation in a multi-layered thermohaline system, using an estimate of the net rainfall obtained from reanalys..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by National Basic Research Program of China

Awarded by National Natural Science Foundation of China

Funding Acknowledgements

This study is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (project No.2005CB422302), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project No.40976001) and the State Scholarship Fund of the China Scholarship Council. The NCEP Reanalysis 2 data and CMAP Precipitation data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA are downloaded from their website: and The authors thank Paul Barker of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric research for provision of climatology of gridded Argo float data and Kevin Keay of the University of Melbourne, Charles James and Leeying Wu of SARDI Aquatic Sciences Centre and Xinyan Mao of the Ocean University of China for kind help in data processing and useful discussions. The paper was completed while the first author was a Visitor at the University of Melbourne during June-August 2008.