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Branching of the Tsushima current in the Japan Sea

Part I. Data analysis
  • Masaki Kawabe
Article

Abstract

Although the Tsushima Current exhibits a complicated meander in the interior region of the Japan Sea, its path is more regular in the southwest region near the Tsushima Strait, and three branches have often been recognized there by many investigators. However, the detailed structures and temporal variabilities of these branches have not been clarified, and so they are studied here by analysing temperature, salinity and sea level data.

It is shown that the existence of the first branch (the nearshore branch along the Japanese coast) can be detected from salinity distributions at least during the period from March to August. The third branch (the Eastern Korean Current) exists in all seasons. On the other hand, the second branch (the offshore branch) is seasonally variable and can be identified only in summer from June to August.

Along the Japanese coast of southwest Japan Sea, the main pycnocline intersects the gentle slope on the shelf at a depth between 150 and 200 m. The first branch is found on the coastal side of the line where the main pycnocline intersects the bottom slope. On the other hand, the second branch is formed just on the seaward side of this line.

Sea level differences in the Tsushima Strait, i.e., between Hakata and Izuhara and between Izuhara and Pusan, show that the seasonal variation of the surface velocity (or volume transport) is small in the eastern channel and large in the western channel. The period during which the surface velocity and volume transport in the western channel increase corresponds well to the period during which the second branch exists.

These results suggest that the effects of bottom topography and oceanic stratification in the Japan Sea as well as the time variation of inflow through the western channel of the Tsushima Strait play important roles in the formation of the second branch.

Keywords

Surface Velocity Bottom Topography Volume Transport Bottom Slope Salinity Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Oceanographical Society of Japan 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masaki Kawabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Geophysical Institute, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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