16 Facts About Kuroshio Current


Kuroshio Current, known as the Black or Japan Current or the is a north-flowing, warm ocean current on the west side of the North Pacific Ocean basin.

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Similar to the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic, the Kuroshio is a powerful western boundary current that transports warm equatorial water poleward and forms the western limb of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

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Kuroshio Current has significant effects on both physical and biological processes of the North Pacific Ocean, including nutrient and sediment transport, major pacific storm tracks and regional climate, and Pacific mode water formation.

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East of Taiwan, the Kuroshio Current enters the Sea of Japan through a deep break in the Ryukyu island chain known as the Yonaguni Depression.

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The Kuroshio Current then continues northwards and parallel to the Ryukyu islands, steered by the deepest part of the Sea of Japan, the Okinawa Trough, before leaving the Sea of Japan and re-entering the Pacific through the Tokara Strait.

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The Kuroshio Current is the Pacific analogue of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean, transporting warm, tropical water northward toward the polar region.

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The warm waters of the Kuroshio Current sustain the coral reefs of Japan, the northernmost coral reefs in the world.

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Similar to the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf Stream, the Kuroshio Current creates warm ocean surface temperatures, and significant moisture in the atmosphere along the western Pacific basin, and thus produces and sustains tropical cyclones.

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However, there is evidence of equal distribution of biological productivity throughout the warm-core rings from the Kuroshio Current, supported by the upwelling at the periphery and the convective mixing caused by the cooling of surface water as the rings move north of the current.

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Kuroshio Current is considered a nutrient stream because of high nutrient flux from surrounding oligotrophic waters with primary production of 150 to 300 grams of carbon per square meter per year based on SeaWiFS global primary productivity estimates.

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Kuroshio Current has an influence of several species of foraminifera, including species G ruber and P obliquiloculate.

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Kuroshio Current is home to thousands of fish species occupying nutrient rich and diverse waters in this region.

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The Kuroshio Current plays an important role in influencing regional climate and weather patterns mainly through the input of warm waters from lower latitudes northward into the western edge of the Pacific basin.

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Kuroshio Current Extension is a dynamic but relatively unstable system, with variability in the associated bifurcation latitude occurring on interannual time scales.

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Predictions are made using methods that combine historical data with oceanic modelling output, and one such study used the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project to show the Kuroshio Current interacting with the northern extremity of the subtropical gyre, contrasting older predictions of simple gyre "spin up" forced acceleration.

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Kuroshio Current can be a useful as a shipping lane as the current can save time and fuel usage when underway with the current.

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