Topographic beta spiral and onshore intrusion of the Kuroshio Current
Huang, Rui Xin
Benthuysen, Jessica A.
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The Kuroshio intrusion plays a vitally important role in carrying nutrients to marginal seas. However, the key mechanism leading to the Kuroshio intrusion remains unclear. In this study we postulate a mechanism: when the Kuroshio runs onto steep topography northeast of Taiwan, the strong inertia gives rise to upwelling over topography, leading to a left-hand spiral in the stratified ocean. This is called the topographic beta spiral, which is a major player regulating the Kuroshio intrusion; this spiral can be inferred from hydrographic surveys. In the world oceans, the topographic beta spirals can be induced by upwelling generated by strong currents running onto steep topography. This is a vital mechanism regulating onshore intruding flow and the cross-shelf transport of energy and nutrients from the Kuroshio Current to the East China Sea. This topographic beta spiral reveals a long-term missing link between the oceanic general circulation theory and shelf dynamic theory.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 287–296, doi:10.1002/2017GL076614.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 287–296
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