Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 263–275 | Cite as

Effects of mesoscale eddies on the variation of water exchange through the Kerama Gap

  • Wen-Zheng Zhou
  • Fei Yu
  • Feng Nan
  • Yan-Song Liu
Original Article


The Kerama Gap is an important passage for water exchange between the East China Sea (ECS) and the northwestern Pacific (NP). The mean Kerama Gap transport (KGT) is small into the ECS (~ 2.0 Sv) but with a large standard deviation (~ 4.5 Sv), which has a significant influence on the variation of Kuroshio transport. The effects of mesoscale eddies on the variation of KGT are investigated by using a 25-year Pacific Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model from 1979 to 2003. Model results show that the variation of KGT is mainly determined by the variation of sea level difference between the northeast and southwest of the Kerama Gap, and these differences are dominated by the westward propagating mesoscale eddies. The effects of mesoscale eddies depend on the meridional location of these eddies. When the anticyclonic (cyclonic) eddy is located in the northeast of the Kerama Gap or the cyclonic (anticyclonic) eddy is located in the southwest of the Kerama Gap, the KGT shows a strong positive (negative) anomaly. However, when the eddy is located in the central region of the Kerama Gap, the KGT shows a relatively smaller anomaly. Besides, the variation of Kuroshio, strongly influenced by the eddies east of Taiwan, also plays an important role in influencing the variation of KGT. When the Kuroshio transport crossing the upstream section of the Kerama Gap is high (low) or the Kuroshio central position shifts to (away from) the Kerama Gap there will be more (less) water flow from the ECS to the NP.


Kerama Gap Kuroshio Ryukyu Current System Mesoscale eddy Pacific HYCOM 



The authors thank the Archiving, Validation and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic (AVISO) for providing the ADT and SLA datasets (, Dudley Chelton and Michael Schlax for the 4th release of the trajectories of mesoscale eddies (, the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) for providing the Pacific HYCOM outputs ( This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41676005), the National Program on Global Climate Change and Air–Sea Interaction (GASI-IPOVAI-01-06), the CAS Interdisciplinary Innovation Team, the NSFC Innovative Group Grant (Project no. 41421005), and the NSFC-Shandong Joint Found for Marine Science Research Center (Grant no. U1406401).


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina

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