Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 51, Issue 12, pp 1802–1812 | Cite as

Observation of baroclinic eddies southeast of Okinawa Island

  • XiaoHua Zhu
  • Jae-Hun Park
  • DaJi Huang


In the region southeast of Okinawa, during May to July 2001, a cyclonic and an anticyclonic eddy were observed from combined measurements of hydrocasts, an upward-looking moored acoustic Doppler current profiler (MADCP), pressure-recording inverted echo sounders (PIESs), satellite altimetry, and a coastal tide gauge. The hydrographic data showed that the lowest/highest temperature (T) and salinity (S) anomalies from a 13-year mean for the same season were respectively −3.0/+2.5°C and −0.20/+0.15 psu at 380/500 dbar for the cyclonic/anticyclonic eddies. From the PIES data, using a gravest empirical mode method, we estimated time-varying surface dynamic height (D) anomaly referred to 2000 dbar changing from −20 to 30 cm, and time-varying T and S anomalies at 500 dbar ranging through about ±2 and°C ±0.2 psu, respectively. The passage of the eddies caused variations of both satellite-measured sea surface height anomaly (SSHA) and tide-gauge-measured sea level anomaly to change from about −20 to 30 cm, consistent with the D anomaly from the PIESs. Bottom pressure sensors measured no variation related to these eddy activities, which indicated that the two eddies were dominated by baro-clinicity. Time series of SSHA map confirmed that the two eddies, originating from the North Pacific Subtropical Countercurrent region near 20°–30°N and 150°–160°E, traveled about 3000 km for about 18 months with mean westward propagation speed of about 6 cm/s, before arriving at the region southeast of Okinawa Island.


baroclinic eddy southeast of Okinawa Island PIES ADCP 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragnsettUSA

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