As an indicator of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) path, the KE northern boundary (KENB) was detected based on the position of the strong winter sea surface temperature (SST) gradient between 142° and 155°E, using high spatial resolution satellite-derived SST for the 30 winters (January to March) from 1982 to 2011. The KE path showed meridional movement with a period of 10-15 yr and an amplitude of about 2° latitude. The changes in latitudinal position of the KE path were initiated by a north-south shift of the Aleutian low (AL). Negative wind stress curl anomalies around 35°N in the eastern North Pacific associated with a northward shift of the AL induced a deepening of the main thermocline depth, and then this deepening signal propagated westward, reaching the KE region after about 3 yr, where it caused the KE path to move northward. The path state of the KE (straight path/convoluted path) modulated on a time scale of 8-12 yr, but this was not significantly correlated with the meridional movement of the KE path. The anticyclonic eddies containing warm-salty water that detached northward from the convoluted KE exerted a strong influence on oceanic conditions in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Confluence (KOC) region. The changes in path state of the KE were related to the path of the Kuroshio south of Japan over the long term; a convoluted (straight) KE path was associated with the Kuroshio taking the offshore nonlarge (nearshore nonlarge or typical large) meander path.
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