Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 04

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Volume 24, No. 4
Pages 100 - 109

Mean Structure and Variability of the Cold Dome Northeast of Taiwan

Sen Jan Chung-Chi ChenYa-Ling Tsai Yiing Jiang Yang Joe WangChing-Sheng Chern Glen Gawarkiewicz Ren-Chieh Lien Luca Centurioni Jia-Yu Kuo
Article Abstract

The “cold dome” off northeastern Taiwan is one of the distinctive oceanic features in the seas surrounding Taiwan. The cold dome is important because persistent upwelling makes the region highly biologically productive. This article uses historical data, recent observations, and satellite-observed sea surface temperatures (SST) to describe the mean structure and variability of the cold dome. The long-term mean position of the cold dome, using the temperature at 50 m depth as a reference, is centered at 25.625°N, 122.125°E. The cold dome has a diameter of approximately 100 km, and is maintained by cold (< 21°C) and salty (> 34.5) waters upwelled along the continental slope. The ocean currents around the cold dome, although weak, flow counterclockwise. The monsoon-driven winter intrusion of the Kuroshio current onto the East China Sea shelf intensifies the upwelling and carries more subsurface water up to the cold dome than during the summer monsoon season. On a shorter timescale, the cold dome’s properties can be significantly modified by the passage of typhoons, which creates favorable physical conditions for short-term Kuroshio intrusions in summer. The surface expression of the cold dome viewed from satellite SST images is often not domelike but instead is an irregular shape with numerous filaments, and thus may contribute substantially to shelf/slope exchange. As a result of persistent upwelling, typhoon passage, and monsoon forcing, higher chlorophyll a concentrations, and thus higher primary productivity, are frequently observed in the vicinity of the cold dome.


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