Satellite observations of surface temperatures and flow patterns, Sea of Japan and East China Sea, late March 1979.
Huh, O.K., and Shim, T.
Unusually cloud-free NOAA satellite thermal infrared images of the Sea of Japan reveal patterns of surface temperature important to understanding surface circulation. A 26 March image of almost the entire ocean basin, cloud-free, shows the appropriate temperature structure of the expected classical surface circulation as formulated by Uda (1934). These include the two-branched pattern of the Tsushima Current, the polar front, and the cold, isothermal surface water of te Maritime Provinces Cold Current (north-central Sea of Japan). Additionally, these observational data show the sea to be nearly filled with meoscale eddies, as suggested by Yoon and Suginohara (1977) from numerical modeling studies. A 28 March image is supportive of the conclusions of Lim (1971) that the Tsushima Current waters are formed in the outer East China Sea shelf by mixing of Kuroshio waters with outer shelf and slope waters. Satellite-measured surface temperatures differed from surface ship measurements. (JMA, Ten-Day Marine Report) by 1-2°C, an offset observed previously under similar atmospheric conditions. Images of this quality can be expected in late winter and early spring, as regional surface cooling facilitates penetration of polar continental air deep into the Sea of Japan and western Pacific.