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Semi-annual cycle of sea-surface temperature in the East/Japan Sea and cooling process

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Semi-annual cycles of the sea-surface temperature (SST) in the East/Japan Sea (EJS) and their forcings were examined by analysing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer data, scatterometer wind vectors, and heat flux data. The semi-annual cycle contributed to the total variance of the SST by 8% and amounted to 25% of the amplitudes of the annual SST cycle, particularly in the Tatarskiy Strait and along the continental shelf off Russia. The lowest phase, corresponding to the minimum SST, occurred during early November and 6 months earlier in May or June depending on the position. The forcings of the semi-annual cycle were not semi-annual but substantially annual with a lag of 6 months, which gave rise to SST cooling in spring and autumn. Our analyses illustrated that SST cooling in autumn was caused by direct, local atmospheric wind forcings, whereas the cooling with large amplitudes of the semi-annual cycle in spring was caused by the non-local, remotely forced cold water advection of the Liman Current associated with sea-ice melting in the Tatarskiy Strait. The phase lag of 1–2 months between the complete melting of the sea ice in the Tatarskiy Strait and the surface cooling along the Russian continental shelf was related to the advection of cold water from sea ice in the form of the Liman Cold Current. The semi-annual cycle also resulted from asymmetry of the time series of the SST due to a long cold winter and a short warm summer. To understand how SST curves are distorted and asymmetric, we suggested two mathematical parameters of kurtosis and skewness. In addition, we suggest that the ratio of the semi-annual amplitude to the annual amplitude of SST harmonics can be used as a typical indicator of the asymmetry in year-to-year SST variations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Earth Science Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea 2: Department of Science Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Publication date: June 18, 2014

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