Hydrographic features off the southeast coast of Kyushu during the Kuroshio small meanders: A case study for small meanders that occurred in 1994 and 1995 spring

Fumiaki Kobashi, Kimio Hanawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three Kuroshio small meanders off the southeast coast of Kyushu that occurred during 1994 to 1995 were investigated by using satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface height (SSH) maps, World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Hydrographic Program (WHP) repeat section and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) hydrographic observations. Based on the satellite data, we observed that the three small meanders are formed by different processes: the triggering and growth of these meanders are caused by a cyclonic eddy propagating from the Kuroshio recirculation region or Kuroshio front meanders traveling from the East China Sea. Investigation of the two small meanders in 1994 and 1995 spring that are captured by the WHP observation showed quite consistent hydrographic features. On the nearshore side of the meandering Kuroshio, a countercurrent appears, associated with vertically uniform upward lifts of the isopycnals from sea surface to bottom at the boundary between the countercurrent and the Kuroshio. In the countercurrent region, the waters in the density ranges of the North Pacific subtropical mode water (NPSTMW) and the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) are more saline and less saline than typical waters that the Kuroshio carries in a non-small meander state, respectively. There are indications that high-salinity NPSTMW and low-salinity NPIW distributed off the Kuroshio was supplied to the countercurrent region. In the meandering Kuroshio flow, while there is no notable change in properties around the NPSTMW density range, salinity of the NPIW is significantly higher than that carried by the Kuroshio in a non-small meander state, but not higher than that in the Kuroshio at the Tokara Strait, which suggests that saline NPIW from the Tokara Strait, less mixed with low-salinity NPIW off the Kuroshio, may be carried by the meandering Kuroshio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-661
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Remote sensing
  • Small meander
  • The Kuroshio
  • WHP repeat section

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography

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