A new circulation model of the western North Pacific Ocean based on the parallelized version of the Princeton Ocean Model and incorporating the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) data assimilation scheme has been developed. The new model assimilates satellite data and is tested for the period January 1 to April 3, 2012 initialized from a 24-year simulation to estimate the ocean state focusing in the South China Sea (SCS). Model results are compared against estimates based on the optimum interpolation (OI) assimilation scheme and are validated against independent Argo float and transport data to assess model skills. LETKF provides improved estimates of the western North Pacific Ocean state including transports through various straits in the SCS. In the Luzon Strait, the model confirms, for the first time, the three-layer transport structure previously deduced in the literature from sparse observations: westward in the upper and lower layers and eastward in the middle layer. This structure is shown to be robust, and the related dynamics are analyzed using the results of a long-term (18 years) unassimilated North Pacific Ocean model. Potential vorticity and mass conservations suggest a basin-wide cyclonic circulation in the upper layer of the SCS (z>-570 m), an anticyclonic circulation in the middle layer (-570 m≥z>-2,000 m), and, in the abyssal basin (<-2,000 m), the circulation is cyclonic in the north and anticyclonic in the south. The cyclone-anticyclone abyssal circulation is confirmed and explained using a deep-layer reduced-gravity model as being caused by overflow over the deep sill of the Luzon Strait, coupled with intense, localized upwelling west of the strait.
- Data assimilation
- Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF)
- Ocean modeling
- Three-layer circulation of South China Sea
- Three-layer Luzon Strait transport