Wind-driven stratification patterns and dissolved oxygen depletion in the area off the Changjiang (Yangtze) Estuary
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> The area off the Changjiang Estuary is under strong impact of fresh water and anthropogenic nutrient load from the Changjiang River. The seasonal hypoxia in the area has variable location and range, but the decadal trend reveals expansion and intensification of the dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion.</p> <p>Two oceanographic cruises, conducted in summer 2015 and 2017, revealed very different stratification and DO conditions in the area.
... ions in the area. Strongly inclined oxycline well correlated with the thermocline in both years. Southerly wind caused reversal of the Chinese Coastal Current and as a result, spreading of the CDW (Changjiang Diluted Water) caused pronounced hypoxic zone in the area east and northeast of the river mouth in 2017. Hypoxic layer started right below the CDW layer at 5&#8211;8&#8201;m depth and extended down to bottom. Strong DO depletion was also observed in the shallow coastal slope in the southern part of the study area. High DO utilization there closely coincided with the interaction zone of the upwelling and fresher surface water. The stratification and hypoxia pattern observed in the area in 2017 is prevailing phenomena during summers if considering the long-term wind statistics.</p> <p>Northeasterly winds supported southward transport of the CDW before the survey in 2015. Consequently, low DO was found in the southern part of the study area while subsurface layer in the northern part was ventilated. Weaker than long-term average summer monsoon is required for the existence of such pattern.</p> <p>Importance of the wind forcing was confirmed by remotely sensed sea surface salinity fields and by circulation simulation. We suggest wind forcing, together with river run-off are likely main contributors of determining the synoptic, seasonal and inter-annual time scale variations of the extent and location of low DO areas off the Changjiang Estuary.</p>