An altimetric transport index for Kuroshio inflow northeast of Taiwan Island
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The Kuroshio inflow northeast of Taiwan Island plays an important role in the heat and nutrient balances over the East China Sea (ECS). Based on merged satellite altimeter data and the PCM-1 mooring observation at the East Taiwan Channel (ETC), the study employs a correlation iteration scheme to find the optimal transport index for the Kuroshio inflow. The sea level difference with the highest correlation to the ETC transport is across the ECS shelf break rather than along the PCM-1 line. The counter-intuitive result is caused by large signal noise and poor track coverage of altimeters near the Taiwan coast. The optimal altimetric index is highly correlated with the two-year in-situ measurements as well as the ten-year output of the global assimilation model. It serves as a better estimator of Kuroshio inflow than those using tidal gauge data, and helps pinpoint a 5 cm mismatch of mean sea level in the Keelung tidal record. The mean transport of Kuroshio inflow based on the twenty-year altimetric index is 20.55 Sv with a standard deviation of 3.05 Sv. Wavelet spectrum of the index reveals that semi-annual period dominates the Kuroshio variation northeast of Taiwan Island.
KeywordsKuroshio inflow East Taiwan Channel tidal record in-situ mooring altimeter
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