Climate Change Research ›› 2017, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (3): 189-197.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2016.200

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Climatology and Change of the South China Sea Surface Temperature Based on Satellite Observations

Zhang Lei1, Ren Guoyu2, Baoleerqimuge3, Xu Bin1, Yu Jingjing1   

  1. 1 National Meteorological Information Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing100081, China;
    2 Laboratory for Climate Studies of China Meteorological Administration, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China
    3 Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Huhhot 010010, China
  • Received:2016-09-28 Revised:2017-01-13 Online:2017-05-30 Published:2017-05-30
  • Contact: Guoyu Ren;


The climatological features and the long-term trends of sea surface temperature (SST) were analyzed for South China Sea (SCS) for period 1982-2012, using a high resolution AVHRR Pathfinder satellite SST data. Results show that the annual mean SST decreased with the increase of latitude in the SCS, and greater temperature gradient appeared in the areas closer to land, with the isotherms being in the direction of southwest to northeast. The maximum and minimum SST in the SCS appeared in summer and winter, respectively; There was a relatively low temperature area on the east of Indochina Peninsula and Hainan Island in summer, caused by cold water upwelling related to the southwest monsoon. The linear trend of annual mean SST in the SCS is 0.100℃ per decade in the past 30 years, and from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, the SST was in a high value, with the highest SST occurring in 1998. In the past 30 years, there was a warming trend for SCS in each season, and the largest increase was 0.194℃ per decade in winter, and the smallest one is 0.086℃per decade in autumn, and the trends in summer and spring are 0.121℃ per decade and 0.107℃ per decade, respectively. The most significant warming was in Taiwan Strait and the southeastern coast of Mainland China, and the maximum increase rate even exceeded 0.7℃ per decade.

Key words: climate change, climatology, sea surface temperature (SST), South China Sea (SCS), Satellite

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