This study investigates atmospheric responses to the directions of surface wind over the Kuroshio front in the East China Sea, using wintertime satellite-derived data sets. Composite maps of sea surface temperature, wind speed, precipitation, turbulent heat flux, surface wind divergence, and the curl of wind vectors above the atmospheric boundary layer are depicted based on the classification of intense northeasterly (along the front) and northwesterly (across the front) winds over the East China Sea. When northeasterly winds prevail, considerable precipitation occurs on the offshore side of the Kuroshio front, in contrast to periods when northwesterly winds prevail. First, the northeasterly winds strengthen above the front because of the downward transfer of momentum from the fast-moving air at higher levels and/or an adjustment of sea level pressure over the oceanic front, although the process by which the influence of the Kuroshio penetrates beyond the marine atmospheric boundary layer remains unclear. Second, a cyclonic vortex forms above the marine atmospheric boundary layer (at 850-hPa height) on the offshore side of the front, and thereafter, surface wind convergence via Ekman suction (hence, enhanced precipitation) occurs over the East China Sea shelf breaks. The northeasterly winds blow over the East China Sea when the Aleutian Low retreats to the east and when high sea level pressure covers the northern Sea of Japan.
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