Science Highlights

Spinning South China Sea (SCS)

We reveal the existence of a unique, three-layer, cyclonic-anticyclonic-cyclonic (CAC) circulation in the upper (<750 m), middle (750-1500 m), and deep (>1500 m) layers in the SCS with differing seasonality.

The CAC is extrinsically forced by lateral planetary vorticity flux in each of the respective layers and intrinsically governed by joint effects of baroclinicity and relief (JEBAR) arising from the CAC flow–topography interaction in the SCS (Gan et al., 2016 JPO).