The subpolar front forms
an important physical and biological boundary at approximately 40°
N in the Japan/East Sea, separating seasonally stratified southern
waters from northern waters which exhibit deep wintertime mixed
layers and only weak summertime stratification. Energetic meanders
and active eddy generation mark the frontal region, with remotely
sensed sea surface temperature and ocean color revealing strong
temperature and chlorophyll contrasts associated with these features.
The front may also be a region of watermass formation and subduction,
influencing stratification beneath the seasonal pycnocline and thus
the general circulation within the basin. Wintertime outbreaks of
cold, dry Siberian air extending offshore from the continent provide
strong atmospheric forcing over the subpolar front and are likely
to exert a strong influence on watermass formation and southward
This program involves
several principal investigators with diverse, but interrelated,
and Hydrographic/Bio-Optical Profiling
M. Lee, B. H. Jones, K. H. Brink)
This study seeks to understand
the processes that control physical and bio-optical variability
in the Japan/East Sea. Specifically, we are interested in:
- The upper ocean response
to strong wintertime atmospheric forcing.
- Watermass formation,
subduction and spreading.
- Dynamics of the subpolar
- Characterizing cross-front
and cross-shelf bio-optical transitions.
These objectives fit
into the framework of our long-term scientific efforts to understand:
- Physical and biological
responses of the upper ocean to atmospheric forcing and how these
penetrate to the interior.
- Dynamics and biological
influences of instabilities and secondary circulations associated
with upper ocean fronts.
- Physical and bio-optical
transitions between coastal and central basin waters.
(C. E. Dorman)
The atmospheric program
- Characterize the lower
atmosphere over the Japan/East Sea.
- Examine the role played
by the marine boundary layer in determining air-sea heat fluxes
in the Japan/East Sea.
of Bio-Optical and Thermal Variability
(R. A. Arnone, R. W. Gould)
The primary remote sensing
- Examine the relationships
between thermal and ocean color (bio-optical) features in the
Japan/East Sea, focusing on the region of the Subpolar Front;
- Examine the spatial
and temporal variability of the spring bloom in the Japan/East
Sea, during both the formation and dissipation phases
- Collect ground truth
reflectance, absorption, and scattering measurements to calibrate/
validate the SeaWiFS sensor and optical algorithms.