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During the 1997–1998 El Niño event, the average sea surface temperature (SST) in the Taiwan Strait (TWS) in the winter was ∼1.4°C higher than that of the winter climatological mean. The areal ratio of the warm water (≥2°C above the regional mean) to the cold water (≥2°C below the regional mean) in the TWS increased by 25% while the area of the eutrophic water (chlorophyll a >1 mg m−3) was halved. Field observations also indicate that the mixed layer in the TWS became more nutrient-poor during this winter. These observations are consistent with a diminished advection of the cold and eutrophic Zhe-Min Coastal Water, and, concomitantly, an expansive intrusion of the warm and oligotrophic South China Sea Warm Current/Kuroshio Branch Water to the TWS as the northeast monsoon was weakened. Thus, El Niño events potentially can have significant ecological impacts on the TWS.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 32, issue 11, art. L11601

©2005. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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