TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography
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Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 64 (No. 1), pp. 49-60, 2008

Verification of the Wind-Driven Transport in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre Using Gridded Wind-Stress Products

Kunihiro Aoki1* and Kunio Kutsuwada2

1Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
2School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University, Shizuoka 424-8610, Japan

(Received 14 October 2006; in revised form 24 August 2007; accepted 27 August 2007)

Abstract: Wind-stress products supplied by satellite scatterometers carried the European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) and QuikSCAT (QSCAT), together with numerical weather predictions from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) and the National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) were used to estimate wind-driven transports of the North Pacific subtropical gyre. At 30°N, we compared the wind-driven transports with geostrophic transports calculated from World Ocean Database 2005. The wind-driven transports for QSCAT and NCEP are in good agreement with the geostrophic transport within reasonable error, except for a regional difference in the eastern part of the section. The difference in the eastern part suggests an anti-cyclonic deviation of the geostrophic transport, resulting from an anti-cyclonic anomalous flow in the surface layer. It is suggested that this anomalous flow is the Eastern Gyral, produced by the thermohaline process associated with the formation of the Eastern Subtropical Mode Water. To investigate the validity of QSCAT and NCEP data, we examined whether or not the Sverdrup transports for these products are consistent with the transport of the western boundary current estimated by past studies. The net southward transport, given by the sum of the Sverdrup transport for QSCAT and NCEP and the thermohaline transport, agrees well with the net northward transport of the western boundary current. From this result, together with the fact that the wind-driven transports for these products are in good agreement with the geostrophic transport, we conclude that the Sverdrup balance can hold in the North Pacific subtropical gyre.


*Corresponding author E-mail: aoki@ees.hokudai.ac.jp


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