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Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 595–608 | Cite as

Dynamic Structure of the Kuroshio South of Kyushu in Relation to the Kuroshio Path Variations

  • Eitarou Oka
  • Masaki Kawabe
Article

Abstract

The variation of velocity and potential vorticity (PV) of the Kuroshio at the PN line in the East China Sea and the TK line across the Tokara Strait were examined in relation to the path variations of the Kuroshio in the southern region of Japan, using quarterly data from a conductivity-temperature-depth profiler and a shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler during 1987–97. At the PN line the Kuroshio has a single stable current core located over the continental slope and a significant maximum of PV located just onshore of the current axis in the middle part of the main pycnocline. On the other hand, the Kuroshio at the TK line has double current cores over the two gaps in the Tokara Strait; the northern core has a much larger velocity than the southern core on average during periods of the large meander of the Kuroshio, while the difference in strength between the double cores is small during the non-large-meander (NLM) period. At the TK line, PV in the middle pycnocline is variable; it is small and nearly uniform throughout the section for 40% of the total observations, while it has a significant maximum near the northern core for 30% and two maxima corresponding to the double current cores for 23%. The small, nearly uniform PV occurs predominantly during the NLM period, and is closely related to the generation of the small meander of the Kuroshio southeast of Kyushu.

Kuroshio potential vorticity current velocity Tokara Strait large and small meanders 

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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eitarou Oka
    • 1
  • Masaki Kawabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoMinamidai, Nakano-ku, TokyoJapan

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