Long-term averaged temperature and salinity distributions in the Tsushima Strait are investigated on the basis of a concurrent dataset of the eastern and western channels during 1971-2000. Both temperature and salinity show a clear seasonal variation with weak and strong stratifications in December-April and June-October, respectively. The largest standard deviations occur in summer around the thermocline for temperature and in the surface layer for salinity. This indicates large interannual variability in the development of a thermocline and low salinity water advection from the East China Sea. The water masses in both channels are distinctly different from each other; the water in the western channel is generally colder and fresher than that in the eastern channel throughout the year. Baroclinic transport based on the density distributions shows a seasonal variation with a single peak in August for the eastern channel and double peaks in April and August for the western channel. However, this cannot explain the seasonal variation in the total volume transport estimated from the sea level differences across the channels. The spatial distribution of baroclinic transport shows a year-round negative transport towards the East China Sea behind the Iki Island in the eastern part of the eastern channel. This negative transport reflects the baroclinic structure between the offshore Tsushima Current Water and cold coastal water. The corresponding southwestward currents are found in both Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and high frequency (HF) radars observations.
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