Analyses of sea surface height, bottom pressure and acoustic travel time in the Japan /East Sea

Yongsheng Xu, University of Rhode Island


A two-dimensional array of pressure-gauge-equipped inverted echo sounders (PIESs) was deployed in the southwestern Japan/East Sea (JES) from June 1999 to July 2001, designed to observe variability in the barotropic and baroclinic circulation. The findings from these studies are reported here. A nearly uniform barotropic basin-scale sea level variation exists in the JES with amplitudes about 5 cm. They are energetic at time scales of 2-70 days, which are shorter than the ERS-2 and TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimetry Nyquist periods of 70 days and 20 days. The common mode produces a substantial alias in satellite observations; furthermore, the combined aliasing effects on multi-tracks can mimic mesoscale eddies and may qualitatively alter the synoptic mapping. Our alias can be suppressed by removing the common mode from satellite SSH. 78% of the common mode variance can be removed in the Japan/East Sea by averaging among coastal tide gauge records to estimate the common mode. High frequency oscillations with period around 7 hours are shown to be organized in a fundamental basin mode in the JES. The oscillation consists of a single amphidromic point around which the high water propagates counter-clockwise with along-coast wavelength equal to the circumference of the basin and largest amplitude at the narrow northeast region of the JES. The time series of basin oscillations is modulated in packets of time scales 2-16 days shown to coincide with synoptic scale forcing over the JES. The basin oscillations exhibit seasonal modulation and vary jointly with wind forcing. A coupled mode analysis confirms that bottom topography vertical coupling in the Japan/East Sea. In the first coupled mode, the deep response flows are largely confined on closed potential vorticity regions created by the Ulleung Basin depression or by the Korea Plateau, while the upper layer exhibits a migration of the Ulleung Warm Eddy. In the second mode, the upper and deep layer have similar spatial patterns peaked at a site near the southwestern corner of the Korea Plateau. The second mode appears to arise from the time varying strength of a mean deep anticyclone.

Subject Area

Oceanography|Remote sensing

Recommended Citation

Yongsheng Xu, "Analyses of sea surface height, bottom pressure and acoustic travel time in the Japan /East Sea" (2006). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3248246.