Seasonal Variation of Submesoscale Flow Features in a Mesoscale Eddy-dominant Region in the East Sea

Yeon S. Chang, Byoung Ju Choi, Young Gyu Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seasonal changes in the distribution of submesoscale (SM) flow features were examined using a fine-resolution numerical simulation. The SM flows are expected to be strong where mesoscale (MS) eddies actively develop and also when the mixed layer depth (MLD) is deep due to enhanced baroclinic instability. In the East Sea (ES), MS eddies more actively develop in summer while the MLD is deeper in winter, which provided the motivation to conduct this study to test the effects of MLD and MS eddies on the SM activity in this region. Finite-scale Liapunov exponents and the vertical velocity components were employed to analyze the SM activities. It was found that the SM intensity was marked by seasonality: it is stronger in winter when the mixed layer is deep but weaker in summer - despite the greater eddy kinetic energy. This is because in summer the mixed layer is so thin that there is not enough available potential energy. When the SM activity was quantified based on parameterization, (MLD × density gradient), it was determined that the seasonal variation of MLD plays a more important role than the lateral density gradient variation on SM flow motion in the ES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalOcean Science Journal
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • East Sea
  • FSLE
  • seasonal variation
  • submesoscales

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