This special issue is based on both oral presentations and posters originating from the 5th international Workshop on Marine Environmental Change of the South China Sea (MEC 2009, Guangzhou), which was organized by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology and sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Guangzhou Association for Science and Technology. The MEC workshops have been held successfully every two years since 2001 and cover a variety of topics including monsoon climate, circulation dynamics, and biogeochemical processes in the South China Sea (SCS) and coastal regions.

The SCS is the largest marginal sea in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, where the Indian and the East Asian monsoons converge. Changes in the South China Sea environment impact global climate change. Consequently, the MEC series has attracted considerable attention from the surrounding international community. In addition, there are many important issues of interest...

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