Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 267–284 | Cite as

Effect of bottom slope in northeastern North Pacific on deep-water upwelling and overturning circulation

Original Article


Hydrographic data show that the meridional deep current at 47°N is weak and southward in northeastern North Pacific; the strong northward current expected for an upwelling in a flat-bottom ocean is absent. This may imply that the eastward-rising bottom slope in the Northeast Pacific Basin contributes to the overturning circulation. After analysis of observational data, we examine the bottom-slope effect using models in which deep water enters the lower deep layer, upwells to the upper deep layer, and exits laterally. The analytical model is based on geostrophic hydrostatic balance, Sverdrup relation, and vertical advection–diffusion balance of density, and incorporates a small bottom slope and an eastward-increasing upwelling. Due to the sloping bottom, current in the lower deep layer intensifies bottomward, and the intensification is weaker for larger vertical eddy diffusivity (K V), weaker stratification, and smaller eastward increase in upwelling. Varying the value of K V changes the vertical structure and direction of the current; the current is more barotropic and flows further eastward as K V increases. The eastward current is reproduced with the numerical model that incorporates the realistic bottom-slope gradient and includes boundary currents. The interior current flows eastward primarily, runs up the bottom slope, and produces an upwelling. The eastward current has a realistic volume transport that is similar to the net inflow, unlike the large northward current for a flat bottom. The upwelling water in the upper deep layer flows southward and then westward in the southern region, although it may partly upwell further into the intermediate layer.


Deep-water upwelling Overturning circulation Bottom-slope effect Analytical and numerical models Northeast Pacific Basin Northeastern North Pacific 



The authors are grateful to the WHP Office, all participants of the WHP P01 cruise in 1985, and those involved in the processing of the WHP hydrographic data [published by Talley (2007)]. They also thank Ms. Eriko Fukumura for drawing the figures. This work was supported by KAKENHI (23244094).


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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