MEPS 365:57-65 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07488

Comparison of phytoplankton blooms triggered by two typhoons with different intensities and translation speeds in the South China Sea

Hui Zhao1,2, DanLing Tang1,2,*, Yuqing Wang3

1Remote Sensing and Marine Ecology (RSME), LED, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,  164 West Xingang Road, Guangzhou 510301, PR China
2Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A Yu Quan Rd, Beijng 100049, PR China
3Department of Meteorology and International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology,  University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Two phytoplankton blooms in the South China Sea (SCS), triggered by 2 typhoons with different intensities and translation speeds, were compared using remotely sensed chlorophyll a (chl a), sea surface temperature (SST), vector wind field, and best-track typhoon data. Typhoon Ling-Ling in 2001 was strong, with a maximum sustained surface wind speed of 59 m s–1, and fast-moving with a mean translation speed of 4.52 m s–1. Typhoon Kai-Tak in 2005 was weak with a maximum sustained surface wind speed of 46 m s–1, and slow-moving with a mean translation speed of 2.87 m s–1. The weak, slow-moving typhoon Kai-Tak induced phytoplankton blooms with higher chl a concentrations, while the strong, fast-moving typhoon Ling-Ling induced blooms over a larger area. On average, about 7 typhoons per year affect the SCS, among which 41% are strong (>50 m s–1) and 59% are weak, while 64% are fast-moving (>4.4 m s–1) and 36% are slow-moving. We conservatively estimate that typhoon periods may account for 3.5% of the annual primary production in the oligotrophic SCS.


KEY WORDS: Typhoon · Chlorophyll a · Translation speed · Remote sensing · Primary production · South China Sea


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Cite this article as: Zhao H, Tang D, Wang Y (2008) Comparison of phytoplankton blooms triggered by two typhoons with different intensities and translation speeds in the South China Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 365:57-65. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07488

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