Two-layer model on the branching of the Kuroshio southwest of Kyushu, Japan

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Observations suggest that a separation branch of the Kuroshio appears southwest of Kyushu, Japan. The observed density and surface current fields clearly show a separation branch in autumn. However, the separation branch disappears in winter and spring when the relatively homogeneous structures develops due to the intense surface cooling. A scenario generating a separation branch is examined using simple two-layer model. The northward Kuroshio along the shelf slope turns to the east abruptly, and leaves the shelf slope around Tokara Strait. A hump (local increase of the upper-layer thickness) is made by the lower-layer flow impinging on the bottom slope. This hump extends to the shallow shelf region due to the combined effect of advection and dissipation of the upper-layer thickness. Then the cross-isobath flow, that is, the separation branch, appears around the hump. When the thin upper layer obstructs the advection process in winter and spring, a separation branch disappears. Moreover, the separation branch disappears when a small damping coefficient is used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2461-2476
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


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