Cite this paper:
BI Congcong, BAO Xianwen, DING Yang, ZHANG Cong, WANG Yu, SHEN Biao, WAN Kai. Observed characteristics of tidal currents and mean flow in the northern Yellow Sea[J]. HaiyangYuHuZhao, 2019, 37(2): 461-473

Observed characteristics of tidal currents and mean flow in the northern Yellow Sea

BI Congcong1,2, BAO Xianwen1,2, DING Yang2, ZHANG Cong3,4, WANG Yu5, SHEN Biao2, WAN Kai6
1 College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China;
2 Physical Oceanography Laboratory/CIMST, Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266100, China;
3 The First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao 266061, China;
4 Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical Modeling, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266000, China;
5 National Marine Environmental Monitoring Center, State Oceanic Administration, Dalian 116023, China;
6 Beihai Offshore Engineering Survey Institute, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao 266061, China
Several bottom-mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) moorings were deployed in the northern Yellow Sea (NYS) during the four seasons of 2006-2007 and also the summertime of 2009. A synthesis analysis on the time-continuous records was performed to examine the characteristics and variations of tidal currents and mean flow over the observation period at these stations. Tidal currents accounted for~75% of the total kinetic energy, with the absolute dominance of M2 constituent. Visible vertical variations of tidal flow were found on all sites, featured by the decrease of amplitude, increase of rotation rate as well as a decreasing trend of the phase for M2 component with depth. A notable exception was in the central NYS, where the maximum tidal currents occurred in the upper or middle layers (~20-40 m) instead of near the surface (<10 m). The observed mean flow was relatively weak, smaller than 15 cm/s. Velocity on the northern end of Yellow Sea Trough (YST) was characterized by low magnitude and an obvious layered structure vertically. In the Bohai Strait (BS) and the northern slope area, the currents weakened and the flow direction presented a major trend to deflect counterclockwise with depth in most observations. Summertime cyclonic circulation around the Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass (YSCWM), its intensification on the frontal zone and the Yellow Sea Warm Current (YSWC) for the winter season were all evident by our direct current measurements. However, the details of water exchange through the BS appeared partly different from the traditionally-accepted pattern. The vertical differences of tidal and mean flow were larger in summer than that in winter, implying the influence of thermal structure to the local currents. Affected by the water stratification, mean flow usually reached its maximum near the thermocline in spring and summer, while showing a nearly uniform vertical distribution during winter.
Key words:    northern Yellow Sea|moored current measurements|tidal currents|mean flow|thermal structure   
Received: 2018-02-02   Revised: 2018-03-07
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