Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 04

View Issue TOC
Volume 24, No. 4
Pages 52 - 63


Seasonal and Mesoscale Variability of the Kuroshio Near Its Origin

By Daniel L. Rudnick , Sen Jan, Luca Centurioni , Craig M. Lee , Ren-Chieh Lien, Joe Wang, Dong-Kyu Lee, Ruo-Shan Tseng, Yoo Yin Kim, and Ching-Sheng Chern 
Jump to
Article Abstract Citation References Copyright & Usage
Article Abstract

The Kuroshio is the most important current in the North Pacific. Here, we present historical data and recent observations of the Kuroshio off the coasts of Taiwan and the Philippine Archipelago, with a focus on its origins. Seasonal climatologies from shipboard hydrographic and velocity measurements, and from surface drifters, demonstrate changes in the Kuroshio caused by the monsoon. In particular, seasonal monsoon forcing affects the degree of penetration of the Kuroshio through Luzon Strait. Data from surface drifters and underwater gliders describe its mesoscale variability. Velocities derived from drifters make clear the mesoscale variability associated with the Subtropical Countercurrent east of the Kuroshio. Underwater gliders document mesoscale structure prominent in salinity extrema associated with water masses. The evolution of these water masses as they progress northward near the Kuroshio indicates strong mixing in the region.


Rudnick, D.L., S. Jan, L. Centurioni, C.M. Lee, R.-C. Lien, J. Wang, D.-K. Lee, R.-S. Tseng, Y.Y. Kim, and C.-S. Chern. 2011. Seasonal and mesoscale variability of the Kuroshio near its origin. Oceanography 24(4):52–63, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.94.

    Centurioni, L.R., P.P. Niiler, Y.Y. Kim, V.A. Sheremet, and D.K. Lee. 2007. Near surface dispersion of particles in the South China Sea. Pp. 73–75 in Lagrangian Analysis and Prediction of Coastal and Ocean Dynamics. A.D.K.A. Griffa, A.J. Mariano, T. Özgökmen, and T. Rossby, eds, Cambridge University Press.
  1. Centurioni, L.R., P.P. Niiler, and D.K. Lee. 2004. Observations of inflow of Philippine Sea surface water into the South China Sea through the Luzon Strait. Journal of Physical Oceanography 34:113–121, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0485(2004)034<0113:OOIOPS>2.0.CO;2.
  2. Centurioni, L.R., P.N. Niiler, and D.K. Lee. 2009. Near-surface circulation in the South China Sea during the winter monsoon. Geophysical Research Letters 36, L06605, https://doi.org/10.1029/2008gl037076.
  3. Cole, S.T., and D.L. Rudnick. In press. The spatial distribution and annual cycle of upper ocean thermohaline structure. Journal of Geophysical Research, https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007033.
  4. Eriksen, C.C., T.J. Osse, R.D. Light, T. Wen, T.W. Lehman, P.L. Sabin, J.W. Ballard, and A.M. Chiodi. 2001. Seaglider: A long-range autonomous underwater vehicle for oceanographic research. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 26:424–436, https://doi.org/10.1109/48.972073.
  5. Ferrari, R., and D.L. Rudnick. 2000. Thermohaline variability in the upper ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 105:16,857–16,883, https://doi.org/10.1029/2000JC900057.
  6. Fine, R.A., R. Lukas, F.M. Bingham, M.J. Warner, and R.H. Gammon. 1994. The western Equatorial Pacific: A water mass crossroads. Journal of Geophysical Research 99:25,063–25,080, https://doi.org/10.1029/94JC02277.
  7. Gawarkiewicz, G., S. Jan, P.F.J. Lermusiaux, J.L. McClean, L. Centurioni, K. Taylor, B. Cornuelle, T.F. Duda, J. Wang, Y.J. Yang, and others. 2011. Circulation and intrusions northeast of Taiwan: Chasing and predicting uncertainty in the cold dome. Oceanography 24(4):110–121, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.99.
  8. Hodges, B.A., and D.L. Rudnick. 2006. Horizontal variability in chlorophyll fluorescence and potential temperature. Deep-Sea Research Part I 53:1,460–1,482, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2006.06.006.
  9. Hu, C.-K., C.-T. Chiu, S.-H. Chen, J.-Y. Kuo, S. Jan, and Y.-H. Tseng. 2010. Numerical simulation of barotropic tides around Taiwan. Terrestrial Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 21:71–84, https://doi.org/10.3319/TAO.2009.05.25.02(IWNOP).
  10. Jackett, D.R., and T.J. McDougall. 1985. An oceanographic variable for the characterization of intrusions and water masses. Deep-Sea Research 32:1,195–1,207, https://doi.org/10.1016/0198-0149(85)90003-2.
  11. Jan, S., D.D. Sheu, and H.M. Kuo. 2006. Water mass and throughflow transport variability in the Taiwan Strait. Journal of Geophysical Research 111, C12012, https://doi.org/10.1029/2006jc003656.
  12. Jan, S., J. Wang, C.-S. Chern, and S.-Y. Chao. 2002. Seasonal variation of the circulation in the Taiwan Strait. Journal of Marine Systems 35:249–268, https://doi.org/10.1016/s0924-7963(02)00130-6.
  13. Johns, W.E., T.N. Lee, D.X. Zhang, R. Zantopp, C.T. Liu, and Y. Yang. 2001. The Kuroshio east of Taiwan: Moored transport observations from the WOCE PCM-1 array. Journal of Physical Oceanography 31:1,031–1,053, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0485(2001)031<1031:TKEOTM>2.0.CO;2.
  14. Liang, W.D., T.Y. Tang, Y.J. Yang, M.T. Ko, and W.S. Chuang. 2003. Upper-ocean currents around Taiwan. Deep-Sea Research Part I 50:1,085–1,105, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-0645(03)00011-0.
  15. Liu, C.S., S.Y. Liu, S.E. Lallemand, N. Lundberg, and D.L. Reed. 1998. Digital elevation model offshore Taiwan and its tectonic implications. Terrestrial Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 9:705–738.
  16. Munk, W. 1981. Internal waves and small-scale processes. Pp. 264–291 in Evolution of Physical Oceanography. B.A. Warren and C. Wunsch, eds, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  17. Niiler, P.P. 2001. The world ocean surface circulation. Pp. 193–204 in Ocean Circulation and Climate: Observing and Modelling the Global Ocean. G. Siedler, J. Church, and J. Gould, eds, Academic Press.
  18. Qiu, B., and S.M. Chen. 2010. Interannual variability of the North Pacific Subtropical Countercurrent and its associated mesoscale eddy field. Journal of Physical Oceanography 40:213–225, https://doi.org/10.1175/2009jpo4285.1.
  19. Rudnick, D.L., R.E. Davis, C.C. Eriksen, D.M.  Fratantoni, and M.J. Perry. 2004. Underwater gliders for ocean research. Marine Technology Society Journal 38:73–84, https://doi.org/10.4031/002533204787522703.
  20. Sherman, J., R.E. Davis, W.B. Owens, and J. Valdes. 2001. The autonomous underwater glider “Spray.” IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 26:437–446, https://doi.org/10.1109/48.972076.
  21. Todd, R.E., D.L. Rudnick, M.R. Mazloff, B.D. Cornuelle, and R.E. Davis. In press. Thermohaline structure in the California Current System: Observations and modeling of spice variance. Journal of Geophysical Research, https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007589.
  22. Veronis, G. 1972. On properties of seawater defined by temperature, salinity, and pressure. Journal of Marine Research 30:227–255.
Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.