Published Papers

Lee, D.-K., J.-C. Lee, S.-R. Lee, and H.-Jae Lie, A circulation study of the East China Sea using satellite-tracked drifters, 1: Tsushima Current, Journal of the Korean Fisheries Society, 30, 1021-1032, 1997.

Lee, D.-K., and P.P. Niiler, The energetic surface circulation patterns of the Japan/East Sea, Deep-Sea Research II, 52, 1547-1563, 2005.  [ Abstract ]

Lee, D.-K., P.P. Niiler, S.-R. Lee, K. Kim, and H.-J. Lie, Energetics of the surface circulation of the Japan/East Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 19,561-19,573, 2000.  [ Abstract ]


Lee and Niiler, 2005
In the period of 1988-2001, 226 ARGOS fixed drifters were deployed in the Japan/East Sea (JES). From these and the historical file of temperature at a depth of 100 m, 15 m depth circulation and its variances in relationship to the seasonal mean warm and cold water regions were constructed on 0.5° resolutions. The strongest seasonal currents were: the East Korean Warm Current (EKWC), the Tsushima Current (TC), the North Korean Cold Current (NKCC) and local eastwards intensifications along the sub-polar frontal patterns. The TC and NKCC were observed during summer and drifters passed through the Soya Strait only in summer. The sub-polar front occurred along 40°N in the northeastern JES; a separate front occurred in winter that was associated with the flow of warm water restricted to the southern JES. Small eddy energy was found in the cold water regime and large eddy energy in the warm water regime. Satellite altimeter and drifter tracks were used to mark the Wonsan Eddy found in the East Korean Bay, a yearly late summer occurrence. Mechanical energy flux from the mean circulation to mesoscale eddies occurred in EKWC, TC and the sub-polar front in the eastern JES with eddy kinetic energy doubling time of 15-60 days. The yearly mean circulation east of the Korean coast is organized into a broad, eddy-filled East Sea Current that contains weak anticyclonic gyres in the Ulleung and Yamato Basins. It accelerates toward the Yamato Rise and against the eastern coast of the JES. The published numerical model solutions show several historical circulation features but fail to capture many of the new structures described by the drifter data.

Lee et al., 2000
During the period of August 1987 to June 1998, 96 Argos-tracked drifters traversed through the Japan/East Sea. The displacement data from these drifters were used to compute 1-3 day average current vectors, which described the circulation at 15 m depth. The drifters that passed through the Korea Strait via the western channel were caught by the East Korean Warm Current, and the drifters that passed through the eastern channel were caught by the Tsushima Current. Individual observations of the 3 day average current over 40 cm s-1 were made in the warm waters south of the subpolar front and along the coasts. There was a distinct decrease of eddy energy northward across the subpolar front. Conversion rates of eddy kinetic energy due to eddy mean flow interaction showed significant regions of both dissipation and production.