Measurements of meteorological variables and surface energy components over the South China Sea (SCS) are compared with the NCEP-DOE AMIP-II reanalysis (NCEP2). The observations were con ducted on a research vessel in the summers of 2004 and 2006. In addition, a one-column ocean model is used to simulate surface energy components and upper-level water temperatures (at 4 and 10 m depths). The simulated upper-level water temperatures agree well with the observations during the two cruises (OR1-728, OR1-802) with a root-mean-square difference (RMSD) smaller than 0.4 K. The observations and the simulations show that the solar radiation (with a mean of ~200 W m-2) is stronger than the latent heat flux (~160 W m-2), and the latent heat flux is stronger than the sensible heat flux (~10 W m-2) during both periods. Nonetheless, the magnitude of variability in heat flux caused by the sporadic wind is not seen in the reanalysis, it appears in the turbulent heat flux simulated by the model. The major differences between the model estimate and the NCEP2 reanalysis are the value of emissivity and the inclusion of diurnal cycles in keyvariables, with the value of NCEP2 for emissivity as 1. The emissivity of this part of ocean is observed to be 0.96 with albedo at 0.07.