Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 81–93 | Cite as

Wind-driven North Pacific Tropical Gyre using high-resolution simulation outputs

  • Kunio KutsuwadaEmail author
  • Akira Kakiuchi
  • Yoshikazu Sasai
  • Hideharu Sasaki
  • Kazuyuki Uehara
  • Rina Tajima
Original Article


Outputs from ocean general circulation models driven by different wind data sets, i.e., from satellite measurements (QSCAT) and numerical reanalysis (NCEP/NCAR), are used to examine the dependence of oceanic internal structures in simulated fields on the surface wind input. Comparison between the two simulated fields reveals large differences in the subsurface layers corresponding to the thermocline depth near 100 m along 10°N in the western tropical North Pacific Ocean. These differences, characterized by a 50-m shallower thermocline in this region when simulated using NCEP winds than when simulated using QSCAT, produce discrepancies in the surface current fields of the tropical gyre. Simulated fields are compared to observational ones, including gridded Argo products, sea surface heights from satellite altimetry, and hydrographic measurements along 137°E. Results show that fields simulated using the QSCAT winds are consistent with observed ones in our study area, while those simulated using the NCEP winds exhibit significant differences from the observed fields. A reliable wind product is key to simulating realistic fields at the ocean surface and in the subsurface. Further, the results obtained using a reliable wind product suggest that the Sverdrup relation is applicable to the tropical North Pacific.


Tropical gyre Wind-driven field OGCM NCEP QSCAT 



The authors would like to thank Drs. Masahisa Kubota and Yukio Masumoto for helpful discussions and advice on this study. We thank Dr. Toshiya Nakano for providing the hydrographic data along 137°E of JMA. We also wish to acknowledge the use of the FERRET program, NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, for the analysis and graphic plots used in this paper. Further, we thank the anonymous reviewers whose useful comments helped to improve our original manuscript. The OFES simulations were conducted using the Earth Simulator with the support of JAMSTEC. The scatterometer dataset (QuikSCAT/SeaWinds) used in J-OFURO2 was kindly provided by the NASA Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Center (PO.DAAC) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Parts of this study were financially supported by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Institute of Oceanic Research and Development, Tokai University, Japan.


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Marine Science and TechnologyTokai UniversityShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Marine ScienceTokai UniversityShizuokaJapan
  3. 3.Research and Development Center for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)YokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Application LaboratoryJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)YokohamaJapan
  5. 5.Mitsubishi Space Software Co., LtdTokyoJapan

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