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A large patch of enhanced chlorophyll a concentration (Chla), lower sea surface temperature (SST), and lower sea surface height (SSH) was revealed in the central South China Sea (SCS) in November 2001 after the passage of typhoon Lingling. Maximum SST reduction of 11°C occurred one day after Lingling's passage on 11/11. Subsequently, against a background level of 0.08 mg/m3, average Chla within the area of 12.60–16.49°N, 112.17–117.05°E increased to 0.14 mg/m3 on 11/12 and then to 0.37 mg/m3 on 11/14. Dissolved organic matter and detritus were differentiated from Chla using a recent bio-optical algorithm. They contributed 64% to the increase of total absorption immediately after Lingling, while most of the changes later (74%) were due to phytoplankton. The area under Lingling's impact covered ca. 3° latitude and 4° longitude, which is much greater than the two summer cases previously observed in the northern SCS. This event lasted for ca.15 days, and resulted in carbon fixation in the order of 0.4 Mt. Such a drastic response was attributed to the coupling of typhoon-induced nutrient pumping with the pre-established cyclonic gyre in the central SCS driven by the prevailing northeast monsoon.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 35, issue 10, art. L10602

©2008. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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