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Cold Water Flow and Upper-Ocean Currents in the Bismarck Sea from December 2001 to January 2002

Takuya HasegawaJapan Agency for Marine and Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan

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Kentaro AndoJapan Agency for Marine and Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan

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Hideharu SasakiJapan Agency for Marine and Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan

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Abstract

The authors investigated the upper-ocean currents in the Bismarck Sea and related oceanic thermal changes in the western equatorial South Pacific for December 2001–January 2002; during this period, coastal upwelling occurred along the Papua New Guinea (PNG) coast. Southeastward and northwestward coastal currents toward the central PNG coast appeared along northern and southern PNG, respectively. In addition, westward currents extended toward central PNG in the southern part of the Bismarck Sea. A northeastward outflow toward the equator from the PNG coastal area, which is compensated for by such flows, was also found. Volume budget analysis in the upper ocean showed that, during the analysis period, the northeastward outflow ranged from +1.0 to +2.0 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). This northeastward outflow brought relatively cool coastal water, which is related to PNG coastal upwelling, to the western equatorial South Pacific near PNG during this period. In addition, the upper-ocean temperature in this region showed a cooling tendency in line with a negative heat transport from the PNG coastal region. The present results indicate that northeastward transport of the cold water is related to the complicated upper-ocean currents in the Bismarck Sea and may have strongly affected the upper-ocean thermal change in the western equatorial Pacific near PNG for December 2001–January 2002.

Corresponding author address: Takuya Hasegawa, Research Institute for Global Change, Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, 2-15 Natsushima-Cho 237-0061, Japan. E-mail: takuyah@jamstec.go.jp

Abstract

The authors investigated the upper-ocean currents in the Bismarck Sea and related oceanic thermal changes in the western equatorial South Pacific for December 2001–January 2002; during this period, coastal upwelling occurred along the Papua New Guinea (PNG) coast. Southeastward and northwestward coastal currents toward the central PNG coast appeared along northern and southern PNG, respectively. In addition, westward currents extended toward central PNG in the southern part of the Bismarck Sea. A northeastward outflow toward the equator from the PNG coastal area, which is compensated for by such flows, was also found. Volume budget analysis in the upper ocean showed that, during the analysis period, the northeastward outflow ranged from +1.0 to +2.0 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). This northeastward outflow brought relatively cool coastal water, which is related to PNG coastal upwelling, to the western equatorial South Pacific near PNG during this period. In addition, the upper-ocean temperature in this region showed a cooling tendency in line with a negative heat transport from the PNG coastal region. The present results indicate that northeastward transport of the cold water is related to the complicated upper-ocean currents in the Bismarck Sea and may have strongly affected the upper-ocean thermal change in the western equatorial Pacific near PNG for December 2001–January 2002.

Corresponding author address: Takuya Hasegawa, Research Institute for Global Change, Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, 2-15 Natsushima-Cho 237-0061, Japan. E-mail: takuyah@jamstec.go.jp
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