Barotropic Tide in the Northeast South China Sea Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • A moored array deployed across the shelf break in the northeast South China Sea during April-May 2001 collected sufficient current and pressure data to allow estimation of the barotropic tidal currents and energy fluxes at five sites ranging in depth from 350 to 71 m. The tidal currents in this area were mixed, with the diurnal O1 and K1 currents dominant over the upper slope and the semidiurnal M2 current dominant over the shelf. The semidiurnal S2 current also increased onshelf (northward), but was always weaker than O1 and K1. The tidal currents were elliptical at all sites, with clockwise turning with time. The O1 and K1 transports decreased monotonically northward by a factor of 2 onto the shelf, with energy fluxes directed roughly westward over the slope and eastward over the shelf. The M2 and S2 current ellipses turned clockwise and increased in amplitude northward onto the shelf. The M2 and S2 transport ellipses also exhibited clockwise veering but little change in amplitude, suggesting roughly nondivergent flow in the direction of major axis orientation. The M2 energy flux was generally aligned with the transport major axis with little phase lag between high water and maximum transport. These barotropic energy fluxes are compared with the locally generated diurnal internal tide and high-frequency internal solitary-type waves generated by the M2 flow through the Luzon Strait.

publication date

  • October 2004