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Marine debris collects within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone


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Floating marine debris, particularly derelict fishing gear, is a hazard to fish, marine mammals, turtles, sea birds, coral reefs, and even human activities. To ameliorate the economic and environmental impact of marine debris, we need to efficiently locate and retrieve dangerous debris at sea. Guided by satellite-derived information, we made four flights north of Hawaii in March and April 2005. During these aerial surveys, we observed over 1800 individual pieces of debris, including 122 derelict fishing nets. The largest debris concentrations were found just north of the North Pacific Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF) within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ). Debris densities were significantly correlated with sea-surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla), and the gradient of Chla. A Debris Estimated Likelihood Index (DELI) was developed to predict where high concentrations of debris would be most likely in the North Pacific during spring and early summer.
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Marine debris collects within the North Pacific
Subtropical Convergence Zone
William G. Pichel
, James H. Churnside
, Timothy S. Veenstra
, David G. Foley
Karen S. Friedman
, Russell E. Brainard
, Jeremy B. Nicoll
, Quanan Zheng
Pablo Clemente-Colo
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service,
Room 102 WWB, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA
NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
Airborne Technologies Inc., 4338 N. Gunflint Trail, Wasilla, AK 99654, USA
Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii, USA
NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Environmental Research Division, 1352 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Alaska Satellite Facility, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Floating marine debris, particularly derelict fishing gear, is a hazard to fish, marine mammals, turtles, sea birds, coral reefs, and even
human activities. To ameliorate the economic and environmental impact of marine debris, we need to efficiently locate and retrieve dan-
gerous debris at sea. Guided by satellite-derived information, we made four flights north of Hawaii in March and April 2005. During
these aerial surveys, we observed over 1800 individual pieces of debris, including 122 derelict fishing nets. The largest debris concentra-
tions were found just north of the North Pacific Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF) within the North Pacific Subtropical Con-
vergence Zone (STCZ). Debris densities were significantly correlated with sea-surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll-aconcentration
(Chla), and the gradient of Chla. A Debris Estimated Likelihood Index (DELI) was developed to predict where high concentrations
of debris would be most likely in the North Pacific during spring and early summer.
Ó2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Marine debris; Derelict fishing gear; North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone
1. Introduction
The increased use of long-lasting synthetic materials
since the 1950s has led to increases in the negative effects
of marine debris. Plastic particles are ingested by sea birds
and small marine animals instead of food (Carr, 1987).
Fish, birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals are entangled
and killed in derelict nets (also referred to as ‘‘ghostnets’’)
(Laist, 1987). Ships and submersibles can be trapped by the
fouling of nets and lines in propellers or damaged by colli-
sion with bulky floating debris. Nets physically damage
coral reef substrates while they continue to entangle and
kill reef animals (Donohue et al., 2001). Between 1996
and 2006, NOAA recovered a total of 511 metric tons of
fishing gear from the reefs of the Northwest Hawaiian
Island Marine National Monument (NWHI-MNM), one
of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. A
recent report estimates an annual accumulation rate of
approximately 52 metric tons of derelict fishing gear
(Dameron et al., 2006). The economic loss of commercial
0025-326X/$ - see front matter Ó2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 303 497 6744.
E-mail address: (J.H. Churnside).
Marine Pollution Bulletin 54 (2007) 1207–1211
fish caught in ghostnets; the time and expense of rescue
operations for entangled or damaged vessels; the environ-
mental loss of endangered species and rare coral; and the
cost of cutting nets by hand from reefs can be measured
in millions of dollars annually in the US alone. To mitigate
some of these effects, we pursued the development of a pro-
cedure to economically locate and cost effectively remove
derelict nets at sea, prior to much of the environmental
Ocean circulation models, satellite remote sensing data,
and aircraft observations were used to detect derelict nets
and other debris in the open ocean. Ocean circulation mod-
els indicated surface convergence in the vicinity of the
STCZ north of the Hawaiian Islands. Satellite remote sens-
ing data, including wind stress, SST, and Chla, indicated
specific areas within the STCZ where higher concentrations
of debris might be expected. Aerial surveys, based on these
data, provided the distribution of the density of marine
debris of several types.
Ocean circulation and wind-drift models suggest that
debris in the North Pacific would tend to concentrate along
a southwest-to-northeast line north of the Hawaiian
Islands (Kubota, 1994) that coincides with the STCZ
(Fig. 1). In the central North Pacific, the STCZ is located
between 23°N and 37°N, seasonally migrating between
these extremes (Roden, 1975), and marks the boundary
between the productive waters of the North Pacific Transi-
tion Zone and the oligotrophic waters to the south. In gen-
eral, the STCZ is located along the axis of the North Pacific
high pressure ridge between the mid-latitude westerlies and
the easterly trade winds, and convergence is caused by
Ekman transport (Roden, 1975).
The TZCF migrates throughout the year, with its north-
ernmost position in summer and southernmost in winter.
Interannual climate signatures, such as El Nin
˜o Southern
Oscillation, influence the TZCF. For example, during El
˜o years, the southernmost position of the TZCF is gen-
erally further to the south than in normal years. Fig. 2 is a
time series of the TZCF position as tracked by the 0.2
Chlaisopleth and the 18 °C isotherm, both of which
usually coincide with the TZCF (Bograd et al., 2004).
Chlorophyll measurements are from the Sea-viewing Wide
Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) on the OrbView-2 satellite
and SST measurements are from the Advanced Very High
Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on the NOAA series of
polar-orbiting operational environmental satellites. Both
were derived from a time series of 8 day averages between
160°W and 180°W. The background shows the wind stress
curl calculated from satellite scatterometers (the Advanced
Microwave Instrument on the ERS-2 spacecraft and Sea-
winds on the QuikSCAT spacecraft). The wintertime posi-
tion of the TZCF coincides with the region of maximum
negative wind stress curl (i.e., maximum convergence from
wind-driven Ekman drift) (Bograd et al., 2004).
Thus, we expected that marine debris would be concen-
trated during winter when the surface convergence is stron-
gest. Since the same winds that create the strong
convergence make aerial observations of the ocean surface
difficult, the best time to search for debris should be in the
spring, when calmer weather occurs in the region of maxi-
mum wintertime convergence, and before the debris has
Fig. 1. 14-Day SST GOES composite for the period ending March 31,
2005 with the four GhostNet flight tracks superimposed. (Flight 1, March
18 – black; Flight 2, March 27 – red violet; Flight 3, March 29 – green;
Flight 4, April 3 – blue).
Fig. 2. Time series of Chlaand SST fronts, defined by the 0.2 mg m
isopleth (red line) and the 18 °C isotherm (white line), respectively. The
background is wind stress curl (negative indicates convergence).
1208 W.G. Pichel et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 54 (2007) 1207–1211
had time to disperse. For these reasons, we made a series of
aerial surveys in the spring of 2005.
2. Methods
We made four flights (Fig. 1) out of Honolulu, Hawaii
between March 18, 2005 and April 3, 2005 on a Lockheed
WP-3D. A short test flight was followed by three flights of
roughly 9 h each. During the observation periods, the flight
altitude was 300 m and the speed was about 100 m s
. The
flight tracks were chosen to include areas of high SST and
Chlagradients and also regions of low gradients, based on
multi-day composites of satellite-derived SST and Chlafor
January through March. We also used meteorological fore-
casts to avoid high winds (>15 m s
), since rough seas
make visual observations difficult.
Four to six people made visual observations and
reported them over the aircraft intercom system to a recor-
der, who wrote down all observations within each 1-minute
period. Most sightings were first made by one or both
pilots. An experienced observer at a window behind the
cockpit on each side of the cabin confirmed the pilot sight-
ings and occasionally added sightings that were missed by
the pilots. Periodically, 1 or 2 additional observers near
the rear of the cabin checked the performance of the pri-
mary observers.
After the flights, the density of debris was estimated for
each 6 min flight period using the speed of the aircraft and
an effective width of the visual survey of 1000 m. This
width was estimated from geometric measurements of vis-
ibility from the aircraft windows made on the ground
and from angular measurements of some of the sightings
that were made during flight.
Satellite data at the positions of the debris-density esti-
mates were extracted from 14-day composite images of
Chlaconcentration and SST. These were obtained from
the MODIS/Aqua and the infrared imager on the NOAA
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
(GOES-10), respectively. The spatial resolution of the
SST data set was 0.05 by 0.05°, while that of the Chladata
was 0.025 by 0.025°. We also calculated the magnitude of
the gradients of chlorophyll and SST to get a total of four
geophysical parameters. These gradients were calculated
using adjacent 0.05°resolution elements, and the longitudi-
nal gradients were adjusted by the cosine of the latitude.
These four geophysical parameters were binned by value
using the following bin widths: SST – 0.5 °C; SST gradient
– 0.25 °C per degree of latitude; Chla– 0.025 mg m
; and
Chlagradient 0.015 mg m
per degree of latitude.
The total number of debris sightings corresponding to
each bin of each of the geophysical parameters was divided
by the time spent searching in water with that parameter to
obtain a measure of debris per unit effort (DPUE) for each
parameter.We fit each DPUE to a fourth-order polyno-
mial. Finally, we defined a Debris Estimated Likelihood
Index (DELI) as the product of the DPUEs for SST, Chla,
and Chlagradient, normalized by the largest value of this
3. Results
The total numbers of objects observed are presented by
type in Table 1. By far, the most common form of debris
was fishing floats, typically foam ‘‘corks’’ and plastic
buoys. Less common were large net bundles, but some of
these were very large (two were greater than 10 m in diam-
eter). The category ‘‘general debris’’ includes plastic bags,
pails, and any other miscellaneous debris.
Fig. 3 presents the observed debris densities for Flights
2, 3 and 4 (Flight 1 was a test and calibration flight). Here
the 6 min totals for debris sightings have been displayed as
debris density (number of sightings per km
) superimposed
on a background of Chlainferred from the Moderate Res-
olution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the
NASA Aqua satellite for the 14-day period spanning the
time period of the flights. One can clearly see a large
increase in debris density in the regions of higher chloro-
phyll (above the TZCF with chlorophyll equal to or greater
than 0.2 mg m
– in general the orange and red regions in
Fig. 3). It should be noted, however, that a number of nets
were sighted south of 30°N on the western leg of Flight 3
and the eastern leg of Flight 4 (which were close in longi-
tude to each other). This may mark an area of convergence
in the past, a ‘‘fossil front’’ (Roden, 1980) with debris still
The distribution of debris density by environmental
parameter is presented in Fig. 4. The densities are averaged
over 6 min sections of the flights (36 km
). The figure also
includes a least-squares fit of a fourth-order polynomial
to each distribution. The dashed, cyan lines represent the
prediction error estimate. They represent one standard
deviation above and below the fit, based on a covariance
where R0is the inverse of the Cholesky factor Rfrom a QR
decomposition of the Vandermonde matrix of the fit (Press
et al., 1992), the superscript T represents the transpose of
that matrix, nis the number of degrees of freedom, and
krkis the norm of the residuals.
Table 1
Debris totals by category
Debris type Flight 2 Flight 3 Flight 4 Total
Buoys 24 31 13 68
General debris 29 86 158 273
Floats 201 560 631 1394
Lines 1 9 13 23
Logs 4 2 1 7
Nets 20 43 59 122
Total 279 731 875 1885
W.G. Pichel et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 54 (2007) 1207–1211 1209
There was a strong correlation between the density of
debris and the geophysical parameters, but this was partly
because we concentrated our search in areas where we
expected to find debris based on the satellite observations.
After removing this effect through the calculation of the
amount of debris per unit effort (DPUE), we obtained cor-
relations of 0.87 (n= 1832, p< 0.0001) with SST, 0.61
(n= 1832, p= 0.01) with SST gradient, 0.76 (n= 1630,
p= 0.0005) with Chla, and 0.90 (n= 1550, p< 0.0001) with
Chlagradient. Since we observed significant correlations
between debris density and three of the geophysical param-
eters, we developed a method to combine these parameters
into a measure of the relative likelihood of encountering
concentrations of marine debris, the Debris Estimated
Likelihood Index (DELI). This produces a map (Fig. 5)
that can be used to direct future aerial searches, and can
also be used as a starting point for an estimate of the total
amount of debris in the North Pacific. This map clearly
shows that there are very localized regions of high likeli-
hood. As derived, the DELI map is valid only for spring
and early summer. As the convergence moves north, it will
weaken and debris will begin to disperse from the early
summer positions.
We also recorded animal sightings, including birds, dol-
phins, whales, turtles, and fish (Table 2). No attempt was
made to get more detailed information than presented.
The largest category is dolphins, but this included one
group of several hundred animals. For our comparison,
Fig. 3. Debris density for GhostNet flights 2 (red violet), 3 (green), and 4 (blue) over a background of Chla.
Fig. 4. Distribution of debris density by environmental parameter, along
with the fourth-order polynomial fit (red line) and the lines representing
±1 standard deviation (cyan).
Fig. 5. Debris Estimated Likelihood Index (DELI) with relative likeli-
hood of finding debris indicated by color. Gray denotes Hawaiian Islands,
with circles at the locations of reefs too small to be resolved.
1210 W.G. Pichel et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 54 (2007) 1207–1211
we used 250 animals, but the actual number could be any-
where between 200 and 300. Without this group, there were
more birds than any other type. Many of these were clearly
albatross, but most were not identified. The fish that could
be identified were all sharks.
The overall correlation between animal sightings and
debris sightings was only 0.19 (n= 150, p= 0.02). How-
ever, this low correlation was strongly influenced by a
group of several hundred dolphins that were travelling in
the area. If we remove these animals from the data set,
the correlation improves to 0.75 (n= 149, p< 0.0001).
We conclude that the pelagic animals we observed were
preferentially foraging in the same convergence zones that
concentrate marine debris, thus increasing their risk (Polo-
vina et al., 2001; Seki et al., 2002).
4. Conclusions
The challenge was to develop a cost-effective method to
search the vast ocean. Such a method has been found for
the North Pacific. From ocean circulation models, we
know that the highest concentration of debris will be con-
centrated in the STCZ in the spring and early summer. We
have shown that aerial surveys can be localized within the
STCZ using satellite-derived information about SST and
The data collected during the aerial surveys support the
hypothesis of a substantial increase in the rate of debris
deposition on the reefs of the recently established North-
western Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument
(NWHI-MNM) in winter and early spring when the TZCF
moves south into the islands. They also suggest that a vari-
ety of marine animals tend to be concentrated in the same
areas as marine debris.
The authors acknowledge the expertise and dedication
of the pilots, crew, and support personnel of the NOAA
Aircraft Operations Center; the assistance of those who
served as observers on the flights; the insight provided by
James Ingraham and his drift model studies of debris circu-
lation in the Pacific; Michael Van Woert for his insights
concerning the subtropical convergence zone; Capt.
Charles Moore for sharing his experience with actual deb-
ris observations at sea. The NOAA CoastWatch program
provided the GOES SST data; the NASA Goddard Space
Flight Center (GSFC) provided the MODIS satellite data;
the NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center provided
the Pathfinder SST data; GSFC and Orbimage Inc. pro-
vided SeaWiFS Chlorophyll adata; and the French Insti-
tute for the Research and Exploitation of the Sea
(IFREMER) provided the scatterometer wind data. The
views, opinions, and findings contained in this report are
those of the authors and should not be construed as an offi-
cial National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or
US Government position, policy, or decision.
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Table 2
Animal sightings by type
Animal type Flight 2 Flight 3 Flight 4 Total
Birds 65 32 46 143
Turtles 1 0 1 2
Whales 1 0 19 20
Dolphins 0 0 256 256
Fish 0 4 3 7
Total 67 36 325 428
W.G. Pichel et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 54 (2007) 1207–1211 1211
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Marine Plastics Abatement Volume 1 provides comprehensive knowledge of plastic pollutions in marine ecosystems and their implications on human health, especially from the contamination of micro and nano-plastic particles by which the levels of plastic pollutions in marine, aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric systems are described. In addition to emerging challenges by plastic pollution, this volume offers comprehensive assessment tools as well as practical models on “Circular Economy” with interesting real-world case studies and theoretical and numerical questions and solutions, recent scientific information, and practical exercises, to ensure a user-friendly text for readers. ISBN: 9781789063196 (print) ISBN: 9781789063202 (eBook) ISBN: 9781789063219 (ePUB)
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El presente capítulo revisa el estado de situación de la zona costera de Chile y las alteraciones que ha sufrido a causa de la acción antrópica y del cambio climático. También se presentan antecedentes biológico-pesqueros que categorizan el estado en que se encuentran los principales recursos pesqueros y los factores legales que inciden en la gestión ambiental de la zona costera. Lo anterior se aborda considerando el estudio previo que contempla el análisis comparativo entre los años 1999 y 2015, y tomando como referencia la información recopilada entre el 2016 y el 2018, y la recopilada entre 2019 y 2021 para el presente Informe, lo que permite realizar un seguimiento entre mediano y largo plazo del estado de las especies que conforman los principales recursos biológico pesqueros nacionales.
Technical Report
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Palacios, D., Felix, F.,Montecinos, Y., Nájera, E., Kelez, S., Samaniego, J., Velásquez, P., Zapata, L., Lancaster, M., Johnson, C., Friedlaender, A., Castro, C., Quintana, E., Bermúdez-Rivas, C., Villamil, C., Casas, J.J., Sepúlveda, M., Benites, L., Flórez-González, L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Medrano-Gonzales, L., Santillan, L., Aguilar, R., Reisinger, R., Pineda, L., Pacheco, A., Ávila, I.C., Pérez-Ortega, B., Acevedo, J., Haase, B., López, R.M., Sánchez, C., Botero, N., Campbell, E., Pacheco, J.D., Pelayo, L., Carnero, R., De Weerdt, J., Pozo, M., Frisch, A., Gómez, S., González, A.M., Angulo, S., Bueno, P., & Fernández, J.A. (2023). Corredor Azul del Pacifico Oriental Oportunidades y acciones para la protección de ballenas migratorias [Blue Corridor of the Eastern Pacific: Opportunities and Actions for the protection of Migratory Whales]. Informe técnico. Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF). 72p.
Technical Report
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Whales rely on critical ocean habitats – areas where they feed, mate, give birth, nurse young, socialise or migrate – for their survival. “Blue corridors” are movement routes for marine megafauna such as whales among different but ecologically interconnected areas essential to their survival. From the Bering Strait south to the temperate and tropical Pacific to the Antarctic Peninsula, productive oceanographic conditions, features and currents support a diversity of whale populations and their blue corridors, some spanning thousands of kilometers.
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During January–May, surface manifestation of multiple, individual basin-scale fronts accentuate the central North Pacific Subtropical Frontal Zone (STFZ) system. The most prominent of these fronts are climatologically located at 32°−34°N and at 28°−30°N latitudes [herein nominally referred to as the ‘Subtropical Front’ (STF) and the ‘South Subtropical Front’ (SSTF), respectively], although considerable interannual variability in both position and intensity is observed. This seasonally dynamic system is also the region typically targeted by the Hawaii-based swordfish (Xiphias gladius) longline fishing fleet, where the presence, position, and strength of the convergent fronts are believed to play a key role with regard to the catch and catch rates of swordfish. Information furnished by a recent series of meridional hydrographic surveys and concurrent satellite remote sensing data elucidate structural patterns and coupling of the physics and biology associated with these fronts. This enables a re-characterization of the spring North Pacific STFZ and offers new insight into the seasonal variability of the phytoplankton dynamics in the subtropical North Pacific.
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1] High-resolution satellite measurements of ocean color and surface winds, along with historical in situ data, are used to explore interannual variability in the annual migration of the transition zone chlorophyll front (TZCF) in the central North Pacific Ocean. Significant variations in frontal position and annual range were observed, including a significant southerly displacement during El Niñ o events. This displacement, apparently forced by enhanced surface convergence and vertical mixing in the transition zone, creates vast regions of anomalously high wintertime surface chlorophyll in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. A remarkably close correspondence between the positions of the TZCF and the 18°C surface isotherm over a portion of the central North Pacific allows historical temperature data to be used as a proxy for TZCF position. This surface temperature proxy has revealed decadal-scale variability in frontal position, with greater (lesser) annual range and southerly extent following the large-scale 1976– 77 (1998 – 99) climate shifts. Interannual variations in TZCF position could have important implications for the distribution and survival of a number of apex predators that utilize the TZCF as a migratory and foraging habitat.
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Pelagic ecosystem dynamics on all temporal scales may be driven by the dynamics of very specialized oceanic habitats. One such habitat is the basin-wide chlorophyll front located at the boundary between the low chlorophyll subtropical gyres and the high chlorophyll subarctic gyres. Global satellite maps of surface chlorophyll clearly show this feature in all oceans. In the North Pacific, the front is over 8000 km long and seasonally migrates north and south about 1000 km. In the winter this front is located at about 30–35°N latitude and in the summer at about 40–45°N. It is a zone of surface convergence where cool, vertically mixed, high chlorophyll, surface water on the north side sinks beneath warm, stratified, low chlorophyll water on the south side. Satellite telemetry data on movements of loggerhead turtles and detailed fisheries data for albacore tuna show that both apex predators travel along this front as they migrate across the North Pacific. The front is easily monitored with ocean color satellite remote sensing. A change in the position of the TZCF between 1997 and 1998 appears to have altered the spatial distribution of loggerhead turtles. The position and dynamics of the front varied substantially between the 1998 El Niño and the 1999 La Niña. For example, from May to July 1999 the transition zone chlorophyll front (TZCF) remained between about 35°N and 40°N latitude showing very little meandering, whereas in 1998, during the same period, the TZCF exhibited considerable meandering and greater monthly latitudinal movement. Catch rates for albacore were considerably higher in 1998 than in 1999, and we hypothesize that a meandering TZCF creates regions of convergence, which enhances the foraging habitat for apex predators along the front.
Produces four kinds of current fields at the sea surface in the North Pacific and simulate floating marine debris by those current fields. The first current field is associated with Ekman drift, the second with Stokes drift, the third with geostrophic currents, and the last with all current fields combined. -from Authors
Oceanic fronts in the subtropical frontal zone north of Hawaii are investigated and related to atmospheric forcing. Particular attention is paid to the winter of 1974 when a detailed study was made of the thermohaline structure aboard the R.V. Thomas G. Thompson. In that winter, well-defined fronts occurred at 34, 31 and 28°N. In the upper 100 m, these fronts are nearly vertical and are characterized by temperature, salinity and sound velocity gradients of up to 2°C (27 km)−1, 0.3‰ (27 km)−1 and 12 m s−1 (27 km)−1, respectively. Horizontal density gradients across the northern two fronts are small because of compensating horizontal temperature and salinity gradients. A thin layer of increased stability is encountered between 100 and 125 m. Below this layer, there are prominent lateral intrusions of cool and low-salinity subsurface water under warmer and higher salinity surface water, at latitudes north of 31°N and longitudes east of 155°W. The 0/1500 db dynamic height topography bears no similari...
The main oceanic fronts of the North Pacific are investigated and the principal frontogenetic processesdescribed. Fronts are features of the upper ocean and occur near mass transport and energy flux convergencezones. Frontogenesis in the upper layers of the ocean is strongly dependent upon the configuration of thewind stress field. Temperature and salinity fronts in the upper ocean are not necessarily coincident, nor arethey always accompanied by density fronts. During periods of strong and persistent winds, the upper andlower portions of the front may separate at pycnocline depth by as much as 200 km, suggesting Ekman-typedisplacement of the upper layer. Multiple temperature and salinity fronts, spaced 60-70 km apart andsuggestive oi baroclinic Rossby waves, are observed off northeastern Japan at the confluence ol the Kurosniowith the Oyashio. Not all temperature and salinity fronts are accompanied by strong baroclinic flow and themaximum baroclinic flow often occurs several kilometers distant f...