Volume Transport Through the Taiwan Strait: A Numerical Study

 

Abstract

A fine grid resolution model with realistic bathymetry was constructed to study the spatial and temporal structures of flow through the Taiwan Strait where observations are limited. The model covers an expanded domain that includes the entire East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as the region occupied by the Kuroshio. The fine-resolution model derives its open boundary conditions from a larger scale Western Pacific Ocean model. Two numerical weather products from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and National Centers for Environmental Prediction, and one satellite observation-based wind set (QSCAT) are used to force the ocean model. Model experiments suggested that the best simulation is achieved when the model is driven by the QSCAT wind forcing. Several important features are reproduced in the model simulation. The volume transport is northward and largest in summer while minimal volume transport is southward and occurs in fall and winter. The general trend of volume transport is related to the seasonal reversal of monsoon winds. The present model also suggests that flow in the entire Taiwan Strait is to the southwest during periods of strong northeasterly wind. The annual average transport based on the present model is 1.09 Sv (1 Sv = 10 m s 6 3 1 −_n), which is smaller than most published values based on shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (sb-ADCP) observations. The result suggests that sb-ADCP observations are biased toward estimates in summer and fair weather since bad weather during the winter northeast monsoon often prevents seagoing observations.

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