Dense Water Formation in the Okhotsk Sea


Principal Investigators:

Lynne Talley and Daniel Rudnick

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
La Jolla, CA 92093-0230 USA

email ltalley at ucsd edu


Graduate student:

Andrey Shcherbina (SIO/UCSD Ph.D. 2004).

Now at U. Washington Applied Physics Laboratory.


National Science Foundation Grant OCE-9811958

Project summary (from 1998 proposal)

9/15/1998 – 8/31/2003

:::images_dir:shcherbina_dir:shcherbina_science_fig1.jpg(left) Station locations and moored lander locations

(right) Sea ice cover

(Shcherbina et al., Science, 2003)





Project results (based on published abstracts listed below): Brine rejection due to sea ice formation in the Okhotsk Sea produces a dense shelf water that is the densest water formed in the North Pacific (excluding marginal seas that are connected only through shallow straits).  It is the densest precursor to North Pacific Intermediate Water. Observations through the winter of 1999-2000 showed the presence of brine rejection and formation of the dense water (sigma theta = 26.92 kg/m3), with an estimated annual production rate of 0.3 Sv. The brine rejection record is one of the clearest anywhere of a monotonic increase in salinity after the onset of sea ice formation. 


The field work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. M. Wakatsuchi (U. Hokkaido), Dr. Y. Volkov (FEHRHI, Vladivostok), and Drs. V. Lobanov, P. Tishchenko and I. Zhabin (POI, Vladivostok)



Data sets:

Moored lander data (2 sites: C and D)

         CTD data

         ADCP data


Cruise data (CTD and bottle)

         1999 Professor Khromov

         2000 Professor Khromov


Ancillary data used in data analysis:

         ECMWF data (mat file)

         Sea ice (SSMI) data (mat files)




Zip file of all publications supported by this grant


Publications supported by this grant and using these data:

Shcherbina, A., 2004. Dense water formation on the northwestern shelf of the Okhotsk Sea. PhD. Dissertation, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA.  195 pp. [pdf]


Shcherbina, A., L. D. Talley, and D. L. Rudnick, 2003. Direct observations of brine rejection at the source of North Pacific Intermediate Water in the Okhotsk Sea. Science, 302, 1952-1955. [pdf]


Shcherbina, A., L. D. Talley and D. L. Rudnick, 2004. Dense water formation on the northwestern shelf of the Okhotsk Sea. Part I: Direct observations of brine rejection. J. Geophys. Res.,Vol. 109, No. C9, C09S08, 10.1029/2003JC002196. [pdf]


Shcherbina, A., L. D. Talley and D. L. Rudnick, 2004. Dense water formation on the northwestern shelf of the Okhotsk Sea. Part II: Quantifying the transports. J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 109, No. C9, C09S09, 10.1029/2003JC002197. [pdf]



Supported by this grant, but using other data sets:

Fukamachi, Y., G. Mizuta, K. I. Ohshima, L. D. Talley, S. C. Riser, and M. Wakatsuchi, 2004. Transport and modification processes of dense shelf water revealed by long-term moorings off Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk. J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 109, No. C9, C09S10, 10.1029/2003JC001906. [pdf]


Gladyshev, S., L. Talley, G. Kantakov, G. Khen, and M. Wakatsuchi, 2003. Distribution, Formation and Seasonal Variability of Okhotsk Sea Intermediate Water. J. Geophys. Res., 108 (C6), 3186, doi:10.1029/2001JC000877. [pdf]



Our related papers on the Okhotsk Sea:

Talley, L.D., 1991. An Okhotsk Sea water anomaly: implications for sub-thermocline ventilation in the North Pacific. Deep-Sea Res., 38, S171-190. [pdf]


Talley, L.D. and Y. Nagata, 1995. PICES Working Group I: Review of the Okhotsk Sea and Oyashio Region. Scientific Report, 2, North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), c/o Inst. Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C. Canada. [pdf]


Last modified March 28, 2011

Lynne Talley, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD