TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 55 (No. 2), pp. 217-235, 1999

The Current Structure of the Tsushima Warm Current along the Japanese Coast

Hideaki Hase1, Jong-Hwan Yoon2 and Wataru Koterayama2

1Department of Earth System Science and Technology, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Engineering Science, Kyushu University, 6-1 Kasuga Koen, Kasuga 816-8580, Japan
2Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, 6-1 Kasuga Koen, Kasuga 816-8580, Japan

(Received 25 September 1998; in revised form 18 November 1998; accepted 18 November 1998)

Abstract: The branching of the Tsushima Warm Current (TWC) along the Japanese coast is studied based upon intensive ADCP and CTD measurements conducted off the Wakasa Bay in every early summer of 1995-1998, the analysis of the temperature distribution at 100 m depth and the tracks of the surface drifters (Ishii and Michida, 1996; Lee et al., 1997). The first branch of TWC (FBTWC) exists throughout the year. It starts from the eastern channel of the Tsushima Straits, flows along the isobath shallower than 200 m along the Japanese coast and flows out through the Tsugaru Strait. The current flowing through the western channel of the Tsushima Straits feeds the second branch of TWC (SBTWC) which develops from spring to fall. The development of SBTWC propagates from the Tsushima Straits to Noto Peninsula at a speed of about 7 cm sec-1 following the continental shelf break with a strong baroclinicity. However, SBTWC cannot be always found around the shelf break because its path is influenced by the development of eddies. It is concluded that SBTWC is a topographically steered current; a current steered by the continental shelf break. Salient features at intermediate depth are the southwestward subsurface counter current (SWSCC) between 150 m and 300 m depths over the shelf region in 1995-1998 with the velocity exceeding about 5 cm sec-1, although discrepancies of the velocity and its location are observed between the ADCP data and the geostrophic currents.

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