Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Ocean Sci., 12, 517–531, 2016
Ocean Sci., 12, 517–531, 2016

Research article 08 Apr 2016

Research article | 08 Apr 2016

Tidal elevation, current, and energy flux in the area between the South China Sea and Java Sea

Zexun Wei1,2, Guohong Fang1,2, R. Dwi Susanto3, Tukul Rameyo Adi4, Bin Fan1, Agus Setiawan4, Shujiang Li1, Yonggang Wang1,2, and Xiumin Gao1 Zexun Wei et al.
  • 1The First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, China
  • 2Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical Modeling, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
  • 4Agency for Marine & Fisheries Research and Development, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Jakarta, Indonesia

Abstract. The South China Sea (SCS) and the Java Sea (JS) are connected through the Karimata Strait, Gaspar Strait, and the southern Natuna Sea, where the tides are often used as open boundary condition for tidal simulation in the SCS or Indonesian seas. Tides, tidal currents, and tidal energy fluxes of the principle constituents K1, O1, Q1, M2, S2, and N2 at five stations in this area have been analyzed using in situ observational data. The results show that the diurnal tides are the dominant constituents in the entire study area. The constituent K1 has the largest amplitude, exceeding 50 cm, whereas the amplitudes of M2 are smaller than 5 cm at all stations. The amplitudes of S2 may exceed M2 in the Karimata and Gaspar straits. Tidal currents are mostly of rectilinear type in this area. The semi-major axes lengths of the diurnal tidal current ellipses are about 10 cm s−1, and those of the semidiurnal tidal currents are smaller than 5 cm s−1. The diurnal tidal energy flows from the SCS to the JS. The semidiurnal tidal energy flows from the SCS to the JS through the Karimata Strait and the eastern part of the southern Natuna Sea but flows in the opposite direction in the Gaspar Strait and the western part of the southern Natuna Sea. Harmonic analysis of sea level and current observation also suggest that the study area is located in the antinodal band of the diurnal tidal waves, and in the nodal band of the semidiurnal tidal waves. Comparisons show that the existing models are basically consistent with the observational results, but further improvements are necessary.

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Short summary
Harmonic constants of tides and tidal currents are obtained from long-term observations. Diurnal tides and tidal currents dominate in southern Natuna Sea and Karimata and Gaspar straits. Existing numerical model results are not accurate in the study area. Existing tidal models based on satellite observation need to be improved for the area.