TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 59 (No. 2), pp. 251-257, 2003

Short Contribution

Uncertainty Reduction of Estimated Geostrophic Volume Transports with Altimeter Observations East of Taiwan

Yih Yang1* and Cho-Teng Liu2

1National Center for Ocean Research, Taipei, Taiwan 106, Republic of China
2Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 106, Republic of China

(Received 8 February 2002; in revised form 24 June 2002; accepted 27 August 2002)

Abstract: The common geostrophic estimation of ocean current velocity uses only water temperature and conductivity profiles. The geostrophic volume transport of a western boundary current, like the Taiwan Current (Kuroshio east of Taiwan), between the coast and its eastern boundary can be easily estimated based on hydrographic survey data. But the eastern boundary of the Taiwan Current is very uncertain due to extremely variable hydrographic conditions. This uncertainty is strongly correlated with the propagating mesoscale eddies originating from the interior of the western North Pacific Ocean. The uncertainty of estimated transport can be greatly reduced if eddy distribution is considered when determining the integration boundaries with the assistance of satellite altimeter measurements. Eight hydrographic surveys east of Taiwan between November 1992 and June 1996 are demonstrated in this study. The average geostrophic transport of the Taiwan Current with a reference set to 1000 dbar at 22°N between the east coast of Taiwan and 124°E is 22.9 ± 14.2 Sv and changes to 22.1 ± 8.3 Sv, the uncertainty of which is nearly halved after taking account of the eddy distribution. The estimation uncertainty is insensitive to vertical displacements of the reference level within the depth range between 800 and 2000 dbar.


*Corresponding author E-mail: yy@oc.ntu.edu.tw


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