Seasonal circulation of the Bohai Sea (BS) in 1992 was investigated using Lagrangian particle tracking method. The hydrography of the BS was simulated based on an unstructured grid, finite-volume, three-dimensional primitive equation ocean model. With the use of the unstructured triangular grid, the model can easily fit the irregular coastal boundary of the BS. The simulated tides, tidal current, and thermohaline field agreed well with the observations. The transport of particles has three-dimensional structure in the BS. Compared with central Bohai and Bohai Strait, the differences of particles' transportation between surface and bottom layer in three bays are small. The circulation in the summer is stronger than that in the winter, with the average residual velocity in the surface layer being about 3.7 cm/s during the summer while only 1.8 cm/s during the winter. Using the same model, several well-designed numerical experiments were performed to investigate the effect of oceanic tide, river discharge, wind stress, and thermal stratification on the circulation. It is shown that winds play an important role in the circulation of the BS during both the winter and the summer. Density circulation is important during the summer; however, it is negligible during the winter. River runoff only affects the area around the river mouth. Compared with wind and thermohaline effect, the contribution of tides is small during the summer, and the circulation under only M2 tidal constituent could not reflect the actual circulation of the BS.
- Bohai Sea
- unstructured grid
- particle tracking method
- three-dimensional hydrodynamic model