Enhanced Chlorophyll Concentrations Induced by Kuroshio Intrusion Fronts in the Northern South China Sea

New evidences were provided that Kuroshio intrusion in winter is able to increase phytoplankton growth in the open ocean of the northern South China Sea (SCS) based on multiple data sources. Strong fronts due to Kuroshio intrusion and interactions with the SCS water are associated with intense upwelling, supplying high nutrients from the subsurface SCS water and increasing phytoplankton productivity in the frontal region. High chlorophyll is more dynamically related to these fronts than to the alongshore wind, wind stress curl, and eddy kinetic energy on interannual time scale. Further examinations suggest that fronts associated with Kuroshio intrusion into the SCS are linked with large-scale climate variability. During El Nino years, stronger Kuroshio intrusion results in stronger fronts that generate intensified local upwelling and enhanced Luzon winter blooms.