Water Masses and Salinity in the Eastern Yellow Sea from Winter to Spring

  • Park, Moon-Jin ;
  • Oh, Hee-Jin
  • Published : 2004.03.31


In order to understand the water masses and their distribution in the eastern Yellow Sea from winter to spring, a cluster analysis was applied to the temperature and salinity data of Korea Oceanographic Data Center from 1970 to 1990. From December to April, Yellow Sea Cold Water (YSCW) dominates the eastern Yellow Sea, whereas Eastern Yellow Sea Mixed Water (MW) and Yellow Sea Warm Water (YSWW) are found in the southern part of the eastern Yellow Sea. MW appears at the frontal region around $34^{\circ}N$ between YSCW in the north and YSWW in the south. On the other hand, Tshushima Warm Water (TWW) is found around Jeju Island and the South Sea of Korea. These water masses are relatively well-mixed throughout the water column due to the winter monsoon. However, the water column begins to be stratified in spring due to increased solar heating, the diminishing winds and fresh water discharge, and the water masses in June may be separated into surface, intermediate and bottom layers of the water column. YSWW advances northwestward from December to February and retreats southeastward from February to April. This suggests a periodic movement of water masses in the southern part of the eastern Yellow Sea from winter to spring. YSWW may continue to move eastward with the prevailing eastward current to the South Sea from April to June. Also, the front relaxes in June, but the mixed water advances to the north, increasing salinity. The salinity is also higher in the nearshore region than offshore. This indicates an influx of oceanic water to the north in the nearshore region of the eastern Yellow Sea in spring in the form of mixed water.


water mass;salinity;Yellow Sea Warm Water;Yellow Sea Cold Water;Eastern Yellow Sea Mixed Water;Tsushima Warm Water


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