Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 55 (No. 2), pp. 247-256, 1999
G. A. Jacobs1, P. J. Hogan1 and K. R. Whitmer2
1Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, U.S.A.
2Sverdrup Technology, Inc., Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, U.S.A.
(Received 5 October 1998; in revised form 17 November 1998; accepted 19 November 1998)
Abstract: The effect of mesoscale eddy variability on the Japan/East Sea mean circulation is examined from satellite altimeter data and results from the Naval Research Laboratory Layered Ocean Model (NLOM). Sea surface height variations from the Geosat-Exact Repeat Mission and TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter satellites imply geostrophic velocities. At the satellite crossover points, the total velocity and the Reynolds stress due to geostrophic mesoscale turbulence are calculated. After spatial interpolation the momentum flux and effect on geostrophic balance indicates that the eddy variability aids in the transport of the Polar Front and the separation of the East Korean Warm Current (EKWC). The NLOM results elucidate the impact of eddy variability on the EKWC separation from the Korean coast. Eddy variability is suppressed by either increasing the model viscosity or decreasing the model resolution. The simulations with decreased eddy variability indicate a northward overshoot of the EKWC. Only the model simulation with sufficient eddy variability depicts the EKWC separating from the Korean coast at the observed latitude. The NLOM simulations indicate mesoscale influence through upper ocean-topographic coupling.