Japan/East Sea water masses and their relation to the sea's circulation

Talley, LD, Min DH, Lobanov VB, Luchin VA, Ponomarev VI, Salyuk AN, Shcherbina AY, Tishchenko PY, Zhabin I.  2006.  Japan/East Sea water masses and their relation to the sea's circulation. Oceanography. 19:32-49.


The Japan/East Sea is a major anomaly in the ventilation and overturn picture of the Pacific Ocean. The North Pacific is well known to be nearly unventilated at intermediate and abyssal depths, reflected in low oxygen concentration at 1000 m (Figure 1). (High oxygen indicates newer water in more recent contact with the atmosphere. Oxygen declines as water "ages" after it leaves the sea surface mainly because of bacterial respiration.) Even the small production of North Pacific Intermediate Water in the Okhotsk Sea (Talley, 1991; Shcherbina et al., 2003) and the tiny amount of new bottom water encountered in the deep Bering Sea (Warner and Roden, 1995) have no obvious impact on the overall oxygen distribution at 1000 m and below, down to 3500 m, which is the approximate maximum depth of the Bering, Okhotsk, and Japan/East Seas.