Interannual Variation of Surface Circulation in the Japan/East Sea due to External Forcings and Intrinsic Variability
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The interannual variation of surface ocean currents can be as large as seasonal variation in the Japan/East Sea (JES). To identify the major factors that cause such interannual variability of surface ocean circulation in the JES, surface circulation was simulated from 1998 to 2009 using a three-dimensional model. Contributions of atmospheric forcing (ATM), open boundary data (OBC), and intrinsic variability (ITV) of the surface flow in the JES on the interannual variability of surface ocean circulation were separately examined using numerical simulations. Variability in surface circulation was quantified in terms of variance in sea surface height, 100-m depth water temperature, and surface currents. ITV was found to be the dominant factor that induced interannual variabilities of surface circulation, the main path of the East Korea Warm Current (EKWC), and surface kinetic energy on a time scale of 2–4 years. OBC and ATM were secondary factors contributing to the interannual variation of surface circulation. Interannual variation of ATM changed the separation latitude of EKWC and increased the variability of surface circulation in the Ulleung Basin. Interannual variation of OBC enhanced low-frequency changes in surface circulation and eddies in the Yamato Basin. It also modulated basin-wide uniform oscillations of sea level. This study suggests that precise estimation of initial conditions using data assimilation is essential for long-term prediction of surface circulation in the JES.
Keywordsintrinsic variability East Korea Warm Current interannual variation Japan/East Sea
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