North Pacific subtropical mode waters observed in long XBT cross sections along 32.5°N line

Kimio Hanawa, Hiroyuki Yoritaka

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The S/V Shoyo, of the Hydrographic Department, Japan Coast Guard, has conducted high-density expendable bathythermograph (XBT) measurements along the 32.5°N line in the North Pacific every year from 1990 to 1993 as a part of the Japanese World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). These XBT data are analyzed here, focusing on year-to-year variations of the inventory and core layer temperature (CLT) of the North Pacific subtropical mode water (NPSTMW). Large year-to-year changes are found in the NPSTMW CLTs estimated in longitudes between 140°E and 160°E. CLT values were found of 17.4°C in 1990, 17.1°C in 1991, 17.3°C in 1992 and 17.6°C in 1993. Inspection of the wintertime westerlies over the formation area and sea surface temperature distribution revealed that this change in CLT can be qualitatively attributed to the strength of atmospheric cooling in the formation area in the previous winter. Although a large year-to-year variation of NPSTMW inventory was also found, it is hard to state any relationship between CLT and atmospheric forcing. There is a possibility that different observational seasons may affect the inventory. It has also been found that the thermocline depth in 1991 was shallower in the sea east of 180° than in 1992 and 1993. Associated with this change, the North Pacific central mode water (NPCMW), characterized by thermosted with temperatures ranging from 14°C to 11°C, appears in the sea area east of 180° in the 1992 and 1993 cross sections. The 1993 cross section, which ranged from the Japanese coast to the west coast of North America, possessed another thermostad in the surface layer, with a temperature of about 17°C in the eastern part of the cross section, off California.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Dec 1


  • Eastern North Pacific subtropical mode water
  • North Pacific central mode water
  • North Pacific subtropical mode water
  • Wintertime East Asian monsoon
  • XBT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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