Surface current response to wind and plumes in a bay-shape estuary of the eastern Yellow Sea: Ocean radar observation

Sang Ho Lee, Chan Young Kang, Byoung Ju Choi, Chang Shik Kim

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7 Scopus citations


Response of surface subtidal current to wind and outflow plume in the bay-shape estuary, which had been artificially made by the Samangeum reclamation dike with two sluices in the west coast of Korea, was examined using the ocean radar-derived current data obtained in the summer 2010. The southerly wind was dominant due to Asian summer monsoon and the outflow plume water was discharged by the gate operation of the Shinsi and Garyeok sluices separated by 11 km into the study area that are opened in a southwestward direction. The monthly-mean flow pattern consisted of the westward outflow currents around the two sluices, the along-dike currents between the two sluices and the northward currents in the outer bay. Based upon the complex correlations of subtidal current to wind and outflow jets we explained that the northward mean current in the outer bay be formed by both the southerly wind-driven current and the geostrophic current by mean pressure setup due to the Ekman transport and plume water accumulation in the inner bay, and the along-dike mean current may be induced by the southerly wind that generates on-dike currents in the central region of study area and leads to pressure setup toward the dike between the two sluices. Combination of outflow jets, wind and coastline configuration affects variations of subtidal surface current in the inner bay. Variability of subtidal current in the outer bay is dominated by wind variation. The southerly wind produced the northward current in the outer bay though the outflow plumes from the two sluices turned clockwise from the inner to the outer bay due to the geostrophic balance when the wind was calm. The wind factor was from 2% to 7% depending on the amount of freshwater outflow and wind speed. Occasionally, when plume water discharges were large and the southerly wind was stronger than 5 m/s, a large eddy with a closed loop current was produced off the Shinsi sluice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-139
Number of pages23
JournalOcean Science Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • bay-shape estuary
  • coastal circulation
  • effects of wind and outflow jet
  • ocean radar-derived current


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