Nonlinear interaction of the Tsugaru Warm Current and tide in the Tsugaru Strait
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The Tsugaru Strait, which connects the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean, is characterized by the eastward Tsugaru Warm Current (TWC) and oscillating tidal currents of similar magnitude. A 15-day current observation was conducted in one of the two narrow channels in the strait, at the northwest tip of the Shimokita Peninsula. The observation revealed that the spectral energy of the semidiurnal current exceeds that of the diurnal current, contrary to the conventional view. The Tsugaru Strait regional model was developed to study the mechanism of this spectral energy reversal (140–141.5° E, 40.4–42.6° N, 500 m grid resolution). At the eastern and western open boundaries, the model was driven by the constant Tsugaru warm current and tidal elevation, which was adjusted by comparing the model with tidal gauge observations within the channel. The relative magnitude of the spectral energies differed from that of the observation when the model was driven by tide only. However, the spectral energy levels were reversed when the model was driven by both tide and current. The nonlinear interaction of periodic tidal currents and the steady TWC was explained by the vorticity equation, which describes the production and advection of residual currents from tidal currents. According to the model results, flow separation and advection of vorticity by the TWC was the most prominent factor in this phenomenon. Because of the strong nonlinearities, flow separation around the headland occurred during the tidal period with dominant current magnitude and furnished the main difference between the diurnal and semidiurnal interactions. These phenomena were enhanced by the complex topography, and demonstrate the importance of scale interaction, especially when developing high-resolution regional models.
KeywordsTsugaru Strait Nonlinear interaction Tsugaru Warm Current Tidal current Vorticity equation Flow separation
We express our gratitude to the members of Hirosaki University who measured the current velocity and kindly provided us with the data.
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