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Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 529–537 | Cite as

Variations of the Kuroshio in the Southern Region of Japan: Conditions for Large Meander of the Kuroshio

  • Masaki Kawabe
Article

Abstract

Conditions for the formation of large meander (LM) of the Kuroshio are inferred from observational data, mainly obtained in the 1990s. Propagation of the small meander of the Kuroshio from south of Kyushu to Cape Shiono-misaki is a prerequisite for LM formation, and three more conditions must be satisfied. (1) The cold eddy carried by small meander interacts with the cold eddy in Enshu-nada east of the cape. During and just after the propagation of small meander, (2) the Kuroshio axis in the Tokara Strait maintains the northern position and small curvature, and (3) current velocity of the Kuroshio is not quite small. If the first condition is not satisfied, the Kuroshio path changes little. If the first condition is satisfied, but the second or third one is not, the Kuroshio transforms to the offshore non-large-meander path, not the LM path. All three conditions must be satisfied to form the large meander. For continuance of the large meander, the Kuroshio must maintain the small curvature of current axis in the Tokara Strait and a medium or large range of velocity and transport. These conditions for formation and continuance may be necessary for the large meander to occur. Moreover, effects of bottom topography on position and structure of the Kuroshio are described. Due to topography, the Kuroshio changes horizontal curvature and vertical inclination of current axis in the Tokara Strait, and is confined into either of two passages over the Izu Ridge at mid-depth. The former contributes to the second condition for the LM formation.

Keywords

Kuroshio conditions for large meander eddy interaction current axis curvature current velocity bottom topography Tokara Strait Izu Ridge 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Oceanography, Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoMinamidai, Nakano-ku, TokyoJapan

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