Statistical analysis of Lagrangian transport of subtropical waters in the Japan Sea based on AVISO altimetry data
Abstract. Northward near-surface Lagrangian transport of subtropical waters in the Japan Sea frontal zone is simulated and analysed based on altimeter data for the period from 2 January 1993 to 15 June 2015. Computing different Lagrangian indicators for a large number of synthetic tracers launched weekly for 21 years in the southern part of the Sea, we find preferred transport pathways across the Subpolar Front. This cross-frontal transport is statistically shown to be meridionally inhomogeneous with
barriers whose locations are determined by the local advection velocity field. The gates
open due to suitable dispositions of mesoscale eddies facilitating propagation of subtropical waters to the north. It is documented for the western, central and eastern gates with the help of different kinds of Lagrangian maps and verified by some tracks of available drifters. The transport through the gates occurs by a portion-like manner, i.e. subtropical tracers pass the gates in specific places and during specific time intervals. There are some
forbidden zones in the frontal area where the northward transport has not been observed during all the observation period. They exist due to long-term peculiarities of the advection velocity field.