Neighbors often trim only the part of a tree that is growing over their own property lines. For decades, Japan and South Korea acted similarly, staying within their exclusive economic zones when studying the Sea of Japan, or the East Sea, as the Koreans refer to it. Then, in 1999, oceanographers from the two nations teamed up with the U.S. Navy to explore the Japan/East Sea in the first long-term underwater study of its circulation.
Now the team is showing abundant fruit from its labor. What the researchers uncovered changes the perspective of the ocean basin between the two Asian countries: a cold-water eddy swirling in and out where no one had noticed it before. Named after one of the islands in the Ulleung Basin, the Dok Cold Eddy explains previously misunderstood flows in the Sea of Japan that may help naval operations, commercial shipping and fishing.
This article was originally published with the title Splash of Cold Water.