Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 59 (No. 3), pp. 359-368, 2003
Daigo Yanagimoto1* and Keisuke Taira2
1Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan
2Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8471, Japan
(Received 6 March 2002; in revised form 2 December 2002; accepted 3 December 2002)
Abstract: The subsurface current of the Japan Sea was observed by two Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorer (ALACE) floats. One float, having a 20-day cycle, was deployed on 29 July 1995 in the eastern Japan Basin and drifted in the northeastern part of the basin until 15 September 2000. The other float, with a 10-day cycle, was deployed on 4 August 1995 in the western Japan Basin and drifted in the western Japan Basin, in the Yamato Basin and around the Yamato Rise until it reached its life limit in mid-May 2000. An anticlockwise circulation in the eastern Japan Basin was observed and it was assumed to be in the upper portion of the Japan Sea Proper Water (UJSPW) or in the intermediate water. The spatial scale of the circulation increased as the depth decreased. A clockwise circulation was observed around the Yamato Rise in the UJSPW. Smaller clockwise and anticlockwise rotations were observed in the western Japan Sea, where a seasonal variation was seen in drift speed with different phase by depth. The correlation coefficient between drift speeds of two floats indicated little coherence among the subsurface circulation between the east and the west of the Japan Basin, or between the north and the south of the subpolar front.