Stable volume and heat transports of the North Pacific subtropical gyre revealed by identifying the Kuroshio in synoptic hydrography south of Japan

Akira Nagano, Kaoru Ichikawa, Hiroshi Ichikawa, Hiroyuki Tomita, Hiroki Tokinaga, Masanori Konda

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We conducted synoptic hydrographic surveys three times under distinctly different conditions of the Kuroshio in the region off the southern coast of Japan; the large-meander (October 2004) and non-large-meander (September 2005 and September 2006) states. As a result of the water mass analysis, we could separate the volume and heat transports of the North Pacific subtropical gyre from the local recirculation gyre and mesoscale eddies. Despite the different flow conditions of the Kuroshio, the volume transport and the volume transport-averaged temperature of the subtropical gyre fluctuate within the ranges of 23.3-29.0 × 106 m3 s-1 and 17.3-17.6°C, respectively, which are quite stable with respect to those for the Kuroshio south of Japan estimated in the past studies. Taking into account the decrease in the volume transport-averaged temperature in the North Pacific interior region, the net heat transport of the subtropical gyre across the latitude of 30°N was estimated to be between 0.19 and 0.22 × 10 15 W.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC09002
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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