LI Li, GAN Zijun. Ventilation of the Sulu Sea retrieved from historical data[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2014, 33(9): 1-11. doi: 10.1007/s13131-014-0517-3
Citation: LI Li, GAN Zijun. Ventilation of the Sulu Sea retrieved from historical data[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2014, 33(9): 1-11. doi: 10.1007/s13131-014-0517-3

Ventilation of the Sulu Sea retrieved from historical data

doi: 10.1007/s13131-014-0517-3
  • Received Date: 2014-04-08
  • Rev Recd Date: 2014-05-28
  • Based on historical observations, ventilation of the Sulu Sea (SS) is investigated and, its interbasin exchange is also partly discussed. The results suggest that near the surface the water renewal process not only occurs through the Mindoro Strait (MS) and the Sibutu Passage, but also depends on the inflows through the Surigao Strait and the Bohol Sea from the Pacific and through the Balabac Strait from the South China Sea (SCS). Both inflows are likely persistent year round and their transports might not be negligible. Below the surface, the core layer of the Subtropical Lower Water (SLW) lies at about 200 m, which enters the SS through the Mindoro Strait not hampered by topography. Moreover, there is no indication of SLW inflow through the Sibutu Passage even though the channel is deep enough to allow its passage. The most significant ventilation process of the SS takes place in depths from 200 m to about 1 200 m where intermediate convection driven by quasi-steady inflows through the Mindoro and Panay straits (MS-PS) dominates. Since the invaded water is drawn from the upper part of the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) of the SCS, it is normally not dense enough to sink to the bottom. Hence, the convective process generally can only reach some intermediate depths resulting in a layer of weak salinity minimum (about 34.45). Below that layer, there is the Sulu Sea Deep Water (SSDW) homogeneously distributed from 1 200 m down to the sea floor, of which the salinity is only a bit higher (about 34.46) above the minimum. Observational evidence shows that hydrographic conditions near the entrance of the MS in the SCS vary significantly from season to season, which make it possible to provide the MS-PS overflow with denser water of higher salinity sporadically. It is hence proposed that the SSDW is derived from intermittent deep convection resulted from property changes of the MS-PS inflow.
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