Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 01

View Issue TOC
Volume 24, No. 1
Pages 28 - 47


Circulation in the Philippine Archipelago Simulated by 1/12° and 1/25° Global HYCOM and EAS NCOM

Harley E. Hurlburt E. Joseph MetzgerJanet Sprintall Shelley N. RiedlingerRobert A. ArnoneToshiaki ShinodaXiaobiao Xu
Jump to
Article Abstract Citation References Copyright & Usage
Article Abstract

Three ocean models, 1/25° global HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM), 1/12° global HYCOM, and East Asian Seas Navy Coastal Ocean Model (EAS NCOM) nested in global NCOM, were used to provide a global context for simulation of the circulation within the Philippine Archipelago as part of the Philippine Straits Dynamics Experiment (PhilEx). The Philippine Archipelago provides two significant secondary routes for both the Indonesian throughflow and the western boundary current of the Pacific northern tropical gyre. The deeper route enters the archipelago from the north through Mindoro Strait, after passing through Luzon Strait and the South China Sea. The second route enters directly from the Pacific via the shallow Surigao Strait and passes through Dipolog Strait downstream of the Bohol Sea. Both pathways exit via Sibutu Passage and the adjacent Sulu Archipelago along the southern edge of the Sulu Sea, and both are deeper than the pathway into the Indonesian Archipelago via Karimata Strait in the Java Sea. Within the Philippine Archipelago, these pathways make the dominant contribution to the mean circulation and much of its variability, while their outflow contributes to the flow through Makassar Strait, the primary conduit of the Indonesian throughflow, at all depths above the Sibutu Passage sill. Because of the narrow straits and small interior seas, the simulations are very sensitive to model resolution (4.4 km in 1/25° global HYCOM, 8.7 km in 1/12° global HYCOM, and 9.6 km in EAS NCOM in this latitude range) and to topographic errors, especially sill depths. The model simulations for 2004 and 2008 (the latter the central year of the PhilEx observational program) show extreme opposite anomalous years with anomalously strong southward Mindoro transport in 2004 and mean northward transport in 2008, but with little effect on the Surigao-Dipolog transport. Satellite altimetry verified the associated HYCOM sea surface height anomalies in the western tropical Pacific and the South China Sea during these extreme years. A 15-month (December 2007–March 2009) PhilEx mooring in Mindoro Strait measured velocity nearly top to bottom at a location close to the sill. The 1/12° global HYCOM, which showed the strongest flow above 200 m lay west of the mooring, was used to adjust a Mindoro transport estimate from the mooring data for cross-sectional distribution of the velocity, giving 0.24 Sv northward over the anomalous observational period. The results from the observational period were then used to adjust the 2004–2009 model transport, giving a mean of 0.95 Sv southward. The 1/25° global HYCOM simulated the observed four-layer flow in Dipolog Strait and the vigorous and persistent cyclonic gyre in the western Bohol Sea, observed during all four PhilEx cruises and in ocean color imagery. This gyre was poorly simulated by the two models with ~ 9 km resolution. Finally, a 1/12° global HYCOM simulation with tides generated the hydrostatic aspect of the internal tides within the Philippine Archipelago, including a strong internal tidal beam initiated at Sibutu Passage and observed crossing the Sulu Sea.


Hurlburt, H.E., E.J. Metzger, J. Sprintall, S.N. Riedlinger, R.A. Arnone, T. Shinoda, and X. Xu. 2011. Circulation in the Philippine Archipelago simulated by 1/12° and 1/25° Global HYCOM and EAS NCOM. Oceanography 24(1):28–47, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.02.


Apel, J.R., J.R. Holbrook, A.K. Liu, and J.J. Tsai. 1985. The Sulu Sea internal soliton experiment. Journal of Physical Oceanography 15:1,625–1,651.

Arango, H.G., J.C. Levin, E.N. Curchitser, B. Zhang, A.M. Moore, W. Han, A.L. Gordon, C.M. Lee, and J.B. Girton. 2011. Development of a hindcast/forecast model for the Philippine Archipelago. Oceanography 24(1):58–69. [CrossRef]

Arbic, B.K., A.J. Wallcraft, and E.J. Metzger. 2010. Concurrent simulation of the eddying general circulation and tides in a global ocean model. Ocean Modelling 32:175–187. [CrossRef]

Ashok, K., S.K. Behera, S.A. Rao, H. Weng, and T. Yamagata. 2007. El Niño Modoki and its possible teleconnection. Journal of Geophysical Research 112, C11007. [CrossRef]

Aviso (Archiving, Validation and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic data). 2010. DT CorSSH and DT SLA Product Handbook. CLS-DOS-NT-08.341, Edition 1.7. Available online at: http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/fileadmin/documents/data/tools/hdbk_dt_corssh_dt_sla.pdf (accessed December 7, 2010).

Barron, C.N., A.B. Kara, P.J. Martin, R.C. Rhodes, and L.F. Smedstad. 2006. Formulation, implementation and examination of vertical coordinate choices in the global Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM). Ocean Modelling 11(3–4):347–375, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2005.01.004. [CrossRef]

Becker, J.J., D.T. Sandwell, W.H.F. Smith, J. Braud, B. Binder, J. Depner, D. Fabre, J. Factor, S. Ingalls, S.-H. Kim, and others. 2009. Global bathymetry and elevation data at 30 arc seconds resolution: SRTM30_PLUS. Marine Geodesy 32(4):355–371, https://doi.org/10.1080/01490410903297766. [CrossRef]

Bleck, R. 2002. An ocean general circulation model framed in hybrid isopycnic-Cartesian coordinates. Ocean Modelling 4:55–88, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1463-5003(01)00012-9. [CrossRef]

Cabrera, O.C., C.L. Villanoy, L.T. David, and A.L. Gordon. 2011. Barrier layer control of entrainment and upwelling in the Bohol Sea, Philippines. Oceanography 24(1):130–141. [CrossRef]

Carnes, M.R. 2009. Description and evaluation of GDEM-V3.0. NRL Memorandum Report NRL/MR/7330-09-9165. Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS, USA. Available online at: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/pubs.php (accessed December 7, 2010).

Chassignet, E.P., L.T. Smith, G.R. Halliwell, and R. Bleck. 2003. North Atlantic simulation with the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM): Impact of the vertical coordinate choice, reference density, and thermobaricity. Journal of Physical Oceanography 33:2,504–2,526. [CrossRef]

Chassignet, E.P., H.E. Hurlburt, O.M. Smedstad, C.N. Barron, D.S. Ko, R.C. Rhodes, J.F. Shriver, and A.J. Wallcraft. 2005. Assessment of ocean prediction systems in the Gulf of Mexico using ocean color. Pp. 87–100 in Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico: Observations and Models. Geophysical Monograph 161, W. Sturges and A. Lugo-Fernandez, eds, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.

Chassignet, E.P., H.E. Hurlburt, E.J. Metzger, O.M. Smedstad, J.A. Cummings, G.R. Halliwell, R. Bleck, R. Baraille, A.J. Wallcraft, C. Lozano, and others. 2009. US GODAE: Global ocean prediction with the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). Oceanography 22(2):64–75. [pdf]

Fang, G., D. Susanto, I. Soesilo, Q. Zheng, F. Qiao, and Z. Wei. 2005. A note on the South China Sea shallow interocean circulation. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 22(6):946–954. [CrossRef]

Fang, G., R.D. Susanto, S. Wirasantosa, F. Qiao, A. Supangat, B. Fan, Z. Wei, B. Sulistiyo, and S. Li. 2010. Volume, heat and freshwater transports from the South China Sea to Indonesian seas in the boreal winter of 2007–2008. Journal of Geophysical Research 115, C12020. [CrossRef]

Fox, D.N., W.J. Teague, C.N. Barron, M.R. Carnes, and C.M. Lee. 2002. The Modular Ocean Data Analysis System (MODAS). Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 19:240–252. [CrossRef]

Girton, J.B., B.S. Chinn, and M.H. Alford. 2011. Internal wave climates of the Philippine seas. Oceanography 24(1):100–111. [CrossRef]

Gordon, A.L., R.D. Susanto, A. Ffield, B.A. Huber, W. Pranowo, and S. Wirasantosa. 2008. Makassar Strait throughflow, 2004 to 2006. Geophysical Research Letters 35, L24605. [CrossRef]

Gordon, A.L., J. Sprintall, and A. Ffield. 2011. Regional oceanography of the Philippine Archipelago. Oceanography 24(1):14–27. [CrossRef]

Han, W., A.M. Moore, J. Levin, B. Zhang, H.G. Arango, E. Curchitser, E. Di Lorenzo, A.L. Gordon, and J. Lin. 2009. Seasonal surface ocean circulation and dynamics in the Philippine Archipelago region during 2004–2008. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans 47:114–137. [CrossRef]

Hanley, D.E., M.A. Bourassa, J.J. O’Brien, S.R. Smith, and E.R. Spade. 2003. A quantitative evaluation of ENSO indices. Journal of Climate 16:1,249–1,258. [CrossRef]

Hurlburt, H.E., E.P. Chassignet, J.A. Cummings, A.B. Kara, E.J. Metzger, J.F. Shriver, O.M. Smedstad, A.J. Wallcraft, and C.N. Barron. 2008. Eddy-resolving global ocean prediction. Pp. 353–381 in Ocean Modeling in an Eddying Regime. Geophysical Monograph 177, M. Hecht and H. Hasumi, eds, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.

Ilahude, A.G., and A.L. Gordon. 1996. Thermocline stratification within the Indonesian Seas. Journal of Geophysical Research 101(C5):12,401–12,409. [CrossRef]

Jackson, C.R., Y. Arvelyna, and I. Asanuma. 2011. High-frequency nonlinear internal waves around the Philippines. Oceanography 24(1):90–99. [CrossRef]

Kållberg, P., A. Simmons, S. Uppala, and M. Fuentes. 2004. ERA-40 Project Report Series: 17. The ERA-40 archive. ECMWF, Reading, Berkshire, UK, 31 pp. Available online at: http://www.mad.zmaw.de/uploads/media/e40Archive.pdf (accessed December 7, 2010).

Kara, A.B., A.J. Wallcraft, P.J. Martin, and R.L. Pauley. 2009. Optimizing surface winds using QuikSCAT measurements in the Mediterranean Sea during 2000–2006. Journal of Marine Systems 78:119–131. [CrossRef]

Large, W.G., J.C. McWilliams, and S.C. Doney. 1994. Oceanic vertical mixing: A review and a model with a nonlocal boundary layer parameterization. Reviews of Geophysics 32(4):363–403. [CrossRef]

Lermusiaux, P.F.J., P.J. Haley Jr., W.G. Leslie, A. Agarwal, O.G. Logutov, and L.J. Burton. 2011. Multiscale physical and biological dynamics in the Philippine Archipelago: Predictions and processes. Oceanography 24(1):70–89. [CrossRef]

Mattsson, J. 1995. Observed linear flow resistance in the Öresund due to rotation. Journal of Geophysical Research 100:20,779–20,791. [CrossRef]

Metzger, E.J., and H.E. Hurlburt. 1996. Coupled dynamics of the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 101(C5):12,331–12,352. [CrossRef]

Metzger, E.J., H.E. Hurlburt, A.J. Wallcraft, J.F. Shriver, L.F. Smedstad, O.M. Smedstad, P. Thoppil, and D.S. Franklin. 2008. Validation Test Report for the Global Ocean Prediction System V3.0 – 1/12° HYCOM/NCODA: Phase I. NRL Memorandum Report NRL/MR/7320—08-9148. Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS, USA. Available online at: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/pubs.php (accessed December 7, 2010).

Metzger, E.J., H.E. Hurlburt, X. Xu, J.F. Shriver, A.L. Gordon, J. Sprintall, R.D. Susanto, and H.M. van Aken. 2010. Simulated and observed circulation in the Indonesian Seas: 1/12° global HYCOM and the INSTANT observations. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans 50:275–300. [CrossRef]

Qu, T. 2000. Upper-layer circulation in the South China Sea. Journal of Physical Oceanography 30:1,450–1,460. [CrossRef]

Qu, T., and Y.T. Song. 2009. Mindoro Strait and Sibutu Passage transports estimated from satellite data. Geophysical Research Letters 36, L09601. [CrossRef]

Qu, T., Y. Du, and H. Sasaki. 2006. South China Sea throughflow: A heat and freshwater conveyer. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L23617. [CrossRef]

Rosmond, T.E., J. Teixeira, M. Peng, T.F. Hogan, and R. Pauley. 2002. Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System: Forcing for ocean models. Oceanography 15(1):99–108. [pdf]

Shriver, J.F., H.E. Hurlburt, O.M. Smedstad, A.J. Wallcraft, and R.C. Rhodes. 2007. 1/32° real-time global ocean prediction and value added over 1/16° resolution. Journal of Marine Systems 65:3–26. [CrossRef]

St. Laurent, L., and C. Garrett. 2002. The role of internal tides in mixing the deep ocean. Journal of Physical Oceanography 32:2,882–2,899. [CrossRef]

Wang, Y.H., S. Jan, and D.P. Wang. 2003. Transports and tidal current estimates in the Taiwan Strait from shipboard ADCP observations (1999–2001). Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 57:193-199. [CrossRef]

Yaremchuk, M., J. McCreary Jr., Z. Yu, and R. Furue. 2009. The South China Sea throughflow retrieved from climatological data. Journal of Physical Oceanography 39:753–767. [CrossRef]

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.