This article reviews progress in our understanding of oceanic fronts around Japan and their roles in air–sea interaction. Fronts associated with the Kuroshio and its extension, fronts within the area of the Kuroshio-Oyashio confluence, and the subtropical fronts are described with particular emphasis on their structure, variability, and role in air–sea interaction. The discussion also extends to the fronts in the coastal and marginal seas, the Seto Inland Sea and Japan Sea. Studies on oceanic fronts have progressed significantly during the past decade, but many of these studies focus on processes at individual fronts and do not provide a comprehensive view. Hence, one of the goals of this article is to review the oceanic fronts around Japan by describing the processes based on common metrics. These metrics focus primarily on surface properties to obtain insights into air–sea interactions that occur along oceanic fronts. The basic characteristics derived for each front (i.e., metrics) are then presented as a table. We envision that many of the coupled ocean-atmosphere global circulation models in the coming decade will represent oceanic fronts reasonably well, and it is hoped that this review along with the table of metrics will provide a useful benchmark for evaluating these models.
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