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Revisit the interannual variability of the North Equatorial Current transport with ECMWF ORA-S3

Authors

  • Fangguo Zhai,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
    2. Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
    3. Third Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Xiamen, China
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  • Dunxin Hu

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
    • Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
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Corresponding author: D. Hu, Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 7 Nanhai Road, Qingdao, 266071, China. (dxhu@qdio.ac.cn)

Abstract

[1] The interannual variability of the North Equatorial Current (NEC) transport in the tropical northwestern Pacific Ocean is investigated with the output from ECMWF Ocean Analysis/Reanalysis System 3 (ORA-S3). The results show that the amplitude and root mean square (RMS) of interannual NEC transport anomalies increase from about 3.0–4.0 Sv and 2.0 Sv at 170°E to above 5.0 and 3.4 Sv at 135°E, respectively. The NEC transport variation agrees well with the variation of the sea surface height (SSH) anomaly difference between the southern and northern boundaries of the NEC region. Further analysis near the Philippine coast suggests that their good agreement mainly comes from the agreement of the NEC transport and SSH variations south of the gyre boundary. Around the bifurcation point off the Philippine coast, the southern branch of the NEC transport is highly related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. During El Niño/La Niña years, westerly/easterly wind anomalies and positive/negative wind stress curl anomalies develop in the tropical northwestern Pacific Ocean south of 20°N before the mature phase. The wind forcing center moves eastward with time and reaches the easternmost position around 170°E several months before the mature phase. This wind forcing generates upwelling/downwelling Rossby waves, which propagate westward to result in negative/positive SSH anomalies, hence inducing a cyclonic/anticyclonic gyre anomaly, which is responsible for the increase/decrease of the NEC transport. The northern branch of the NEC transport near the Philippine coast has no significant simultaneous relation with ENSO events.

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