Salinification in the South China Sea since late 2012 : a reversal of the freshening since the 1990s
Chassignet, Eric P.
Schmitt, Raymond W.
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Salinification has occurred in the South China Sea from late 2012 to the present, as shown by satellite Aquarius/Soil Moisture Active Passive data and Argo float data. This salinification follows a 20 year freshening trend that started in 1993. The salinification signal is strongest near the surface and extends downward under the seasonal thermocline to a depth of 150 m. The salinification occurs when the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation switches from negative to positive. Diagnosis of the salinity budget suggests that an increasing net surface freshwater loss and the horizontal salt advection through the Luzon Strait driven by the South China Sea throughflow contributed to this ongoing salinification. In particular, a decrease in precipitation and enhanced Luzon Strait transport dominated the current intense salinification. Of particular interest is whether this salinification will continue until it reaches the previous maximum recorded in 1992.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 2744-2751, doi:10.1002/2017GL076574.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 2744-2751
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