Journal of Oceanography

, 64:721 | Cite as

Review of recent findings on the water masses and circulation in the East Sea (Sea of Japan)

  • Kuh Kim
  • Kyung-Il Chang
  • Dong-Jin Kang
  • Young Ho Kim
  • Jae-Hak Lee


Recent findings on water masses, biogeochemical tracers, deep currents and basin-scale circulation in the East/Japan Sea, and numerical modeling of its circulation are reviewed. Warming continues up to 2007 despite an episode of bottom water formation in the winter of 2000–2001. Water masses have definitely changed since the 1970s and further changes are expected due to the continuation of warming. Accumulation of current data in deep waters of the East/Japan Sea reveals that the circulation in the East/Japan Sea is primarily cyclonic with sub-basin scale cyclonic and anticyclonic cells in the Ulleung Basin (Tsushima Basin). Our understanding of the circulation of intermediate water masses has been deepened through high-resolution numerical studies, and the implementation of data assimilation has had initial success. However, the East/Japan Sea is unique in terms of the fine vertical structures of physical and biogeochemical properties of cold water mass measured at the highest precision and their rapid change with the global warming, so that full understanding of the structures and their change requires in-depth process studies with continuous monitoring programs.


Sea of Japan water mass biogeochemical tracers warming circulation numerical modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kuh Kim
    • 1
  • Kyung-Il Chang
    • 1
  • Dong-Jin Kang
    • 1
  • Young Ho Kim
    • 2
  • Jae-Hak Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Institute of Oceanography/School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Climate Change and Coastal Disaster Research DepartmentKorea Ocean Research and Development InstituteAnsanKorea

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