Dissolved barium as a tracer of Kuroshio incursion in the Kuroshio region east of Taiwan Island and the adjacent East China Sea
From May to June 2014, the geochemical characteristics of dissolved barium (Ba) in sea water and its influx from the Kuroshio into the East China Sea (ECS) were studied by investigation of the Kuroshio mainstream east of Taiwan Island and the adjacent ECS. This allowed for the scope and extent of the Kuroshio incursion to be quantitatively described for the first time by using Ba as a tracer. The concentration of Ba in the Kuroshio mainstream increased gradually downward from the surface in the range 4.91–19.2 μg L−1. In the surface layer of the ECS, the Ba concentration was highest in coastal water and gradually decreased seaward, while it was higher in coastal and offshore water but lowest in middle shelf for bottom layer. The influx of Ba from Kuroshio into the ECS during May to October was calculated to be 2.19×108 kg by a water exchange model, in which the subsurface layer had the largest portion. The distribution of Ba indicated that Kuroshio upwelled in the sea area northeast of Taiwan Island. The north-flowing water in the Taiwan Strait restrained the incursion of Kuroshio surface water onto the ECS shelf, while Kuroshio subsurface water gradually affected the bottom of the ECS from outside. The results of end member calculation, using Ba as a parameter, showed that the Kuroshio surface water had little impact on the ECS, while the Kuroshio subsurface water formed an intrusion current by climbing northwest along the bottom of the middle shelf from the sea area northeast of Taiwan Island into the Qiantang Estuary, of which the volume of Kuroshio water was nearly 65%. Kuroshio water was the predominant part of the water on the outer shelf bottom and its proportion in areas deeper than the 100 m isobath could reach more than 95%. In the DH9 section (north of Taiwan Island), Kuroshio subsurface water intruded westward along the bottom from the shelf edge and then rose upward (in lower proportion). Kuroshio water accounted for 95% of the ocean volume could reach as far as 122°E. Ba was able to provide detailed tracing of the Kuroshio incursion into the ECS owing to its geochemical characteristics and became an effective tracer for revealing quantitative interactions between the Kuroshio and the ECS.
KeywordsDissolved barium Tracer Geochemical characteristics Kuroshio incursion The ECS shelf
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This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA11020102), the Aoshan Talents Program (Grant No. 2015ASTP-OS13) and the Scientific and Technological Innovation Project (Grant No. 2016ASKJ14) Financially Supported by Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, and Joint Fund of Shandong Province and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. U1406403).
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