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Based on the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sea surface temperature (SST) of ten years (2000-2009) and Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) ocean color data of 13 years (1998-2010), the Kuroshio oceanic front exists between two entirely different water masses in the East China Sea, namely, the Kuroshio and continental shelf waters. The Kuroshio thermal front (derived from the SST data) disappears in summer due to the spatially uniform surface heating, whereas the Kuroshio ocean color front in summer is distinct and exhibits the same spatial pattern along the shelf break of the deep Okinawa Trough as in winter. The Kuroshio thermal front has one bifurcation at about (126° E, 28° N) and extends northward toward the Cheju Island lasting from December to March, but this kind of branch is absent in the ocean color data.
Date of Publication: May 2012