The subsurface counter current beneath the Tsushima Warm Current is simulated using a three-dimensional circulation model. The model well reproduces the counter current beneath the Tsushima Warm Current on the shelf break. The counter current appears as nearshore parts of the subsurface clockwise circulations from spring to early winter. The clockwise circulations are separated by developed shelves such as the Oki Spur and the Noto Peninsula, thus the counter current is not a continuous flow along the Japanese coast in this model. The vertical structure of the counter current can be explained by a density structure with the thermal wind relationship. The permanent and seasonal pycnoclines form mutually opposite horizontal density gradients near the Japanese coast in summer. Such a density structure results in a speed maximum of the counter current away from the bottom. It is remarkable that the second baroclinic mode is dominant in nearshore parts of the subsurface clockwise circulations in summer, which are attributed to the density structure. Similar density structures are also found in some coastal regions of the world oceans where subsurface counter currents are expected.
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