, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 25-44

Long-term and real-time monitoring system of the East/Japan sea

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Long-term, continuous, and real-time ocean monitoring has been undertaken in order to evaluate various oceanographic phenomena and processes in the East/Japan Sea. Recent technical advances combined with our concerted efforts have allowed us to establish a real-time monitoring system and to accumulate considerable knowledge on what has been taking place in water properties, current systems, and circulation in the East Sea. We have obtained information on volume transport across the Korea Strait through cable voltage measurements and continuous temperature and salinity profile data from ARGO floats placed throughout entire East Sea since 1997. These ARGO float data have been utilized to estimate deep current, inertial kinetic energy, and changes in water mass, especially in the northern East Sea. We have also developed the East Sea Real-time Ocean Buoy (ESROB) in coastal regions and made continual improvements till it has evolved into the most up-to-date and effective monitoring system as a result of remarkable technical progress in data communication systems. Atmospheric and oceanic measurements by ESROB have contributed to the recognition of coastal wind variability, current fluctuations, and internal waves near and off the eastern coast of Korea. Long-term current meter moorings have been in operation since 1996 between Ulleungdo and Dokdo to monitor the interbasin deep water exchanges between the Japanese and Ulleung Basins. In addition, remotely sensed satellite data could facilitate the investigation of atmospheric and oceanic surface conditions such as sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height, near-surface winds, oceanic color, surface roughness, and so on. These satellite data revealed surface frontal structures with a fairly good spatial resolution, seasonal cycle of SST, atmospheric wind forcing, geostrophic current anomalies, and biogeochemical processes associated with physical forcing and processes. Since the East Sea has been recognized as a natural laboratory for global oceanic changes and a clue to abrupt climate change, we aim at constructing a 4-D continuous real-time monitoring system, over a decade at least, using the most advanced techniques to understand a variety of oceanic processes in the East Sea.