The Role of Topographically Induced Form Drag on the Channel Flows Through the East/Japan Sea

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The dynamics responsible for the East/Japan Sea throughflow are examined using the Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model. Existing ocean data assimilation models (Δx ~10 km) present overestimates of the volume transport through the Tsugaru Strait, and the outflow partitioning between the Tsugaru and Soya/La Perouse Straits also differs depending on the models. We find that this overestimate occurs when the form drag that is induced by detailed bottom topographic features in the Tsugaru Strait is not adequately resolved. A range of experiments with different horizontal resolutions in the Korea/Tsushima, Tsugaru, and Soya/La Perouse Straits were conducted to examine how detailed bottom topographic features in these three straits may affect the throughflow. We find that the volume transport is highly sensitive to the spatial resolution at the Tsugaru Strait but not at the Korea/Tsushima and Soya/La Perouse Straits. The high-resolution experiment showed a decreased outflow through the Tsugaru Strait and a reduction in the model bias. The outflow through the Soya/La Perouse Strait increased, while the inflow through the Korea/Tsushima Strait remained relatively unchanged. Additional experiments with modified topography further indicated that the abrupt change of the topography located at the upstream side of the Tsugaru Strait plays an important role in the outflow partitioning of the East/Japan Sea throughflow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6091-6105
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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