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Researchers have identified “hot spots” of three-layer alternative circulation in the South China Sea – ScienceDaily


The research team, led by Professor Jianping of the GAN, director of the Center for Ocean Research in Hong Kong and Macau (CORE) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), conducted field observations and conducted numerical simulations in the South China Sea. (SCS) recently and discovered unprecedented characteristics of three-dimensional ocean motion in SCS using the theory of geophysical fluid dynamics. A sophisticated ocean circulation system controls the conversion of energy and transport of water masses into SCS, further affecting biogeochemical processes, carbon budget, marine environmental health, regional climate change, and sustainable economic and social development in and around 22 surrounding countries. % of the world’s population. Research on the circulation and dynamics of SCS is considered to be the basis and embodiment of the understanding of SCS.

In the last few decades, the world has been paying increasing attention to studies of ocean circulation in the SCS. However, the scientific understanding of three-dimensional water movement in this region is still very limited, ambiguous, and sometimes even misunderstood. This is due to the lack of observations, reliable numerical model and knowledge of complex physical processes in the SCS circulation.

Until recently, based on observations, numerical simulations, and reflections on geophysical hydrodynamics, a research team led by Professor Gan, who is also a professor at HKUST’s Department of Oceanography and Mathematics, confirmed that the rotating SCS circulation has a three-layered circular structure where n counterclockwise, clockwise and clockwise in the upper, middle and lower layers respectively. The study also found that three-layer rotational circulations consist of dynamically active “hot spots” of reinforced currents along a steep continental slope surrounding a deep basin, instead of an ordered structure throughout the region as previously thought. Sloping currents are largely controlled by the combined effects of monsoons, Curasio intrusions, and unique relief, and are constantly regulated and regulated by multiscale oceanic processes. The study first demonstrated the three-dimensional structure and physical mechanism of SCS circulation and found a previous misunderstanding of water mass movement in the region. Based on these findings, Professor Ghana’s team created WavyOcean, a system for 3D modeling and visualization of ocean circulation and biogeochemical processes in the SCS that is validated and limited to both observations and dynamics considerations.

Professor Gan said: “Due to the failure to capture a dynamic hotspot in the marginal sea, almost all global models cannot accurately model the three-layer circulation structure and related physics in the South China Sea, even with the same spatial and temporal. Compared to the open ocean, our understanding and modeling of global marginal marine circulations caused by many factors, such as seabed topography, strait water exchange, and large-scale dynamic processes, are more complex than expected. ”

Observations are important for ocean research. However, due to the strict spatial and temporal limitations of field observations, it is very difficult to understand the structure of ocean currents, especially for theoretical analysis of circulation dynamics. an increasing number of new discoveries in the ocean are now based on a numerical model that is rigorously confirmed by observations and geodynamic theory, ”he added. As an expert in computational geophysical hydrodynamics, Professor Gunn believes that numerical simulation is not a game of coding simple input and output, but rather a process of constructing a “sophisticated” scientific numerical experiment and observation. In addition to modeling and predicting the real ocean, numerical ocean modeling is a basic scientific tool for understanding ocean processes and phenomena and aiding in the study of the unknown.

The results of the study were recently published in The nature of communication a group led by Professor Ghana in collaboration with researchers from the University of Macau and the Southern University of Science and Technology. The study was co-funded by CORE, the Hong Kong RGC and the National Science Foundation of China. CORE is jointly established by the National Science and Technology Laboratory of Qingdao and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

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