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Pan Okhotsk Research Center

    The Pan-Okhotsk Area literally denotes the Sea of Okhotsk and its surroundings. However, we consider this area to be a much broader area, encompassing the Eurasian Continent and the North Pacific Ocean zonally; the region is also exposed by the arctic and tropical influences meridionally. The southernmost sea ice extent in the Northern Hemisphere can be observed in the Sea of Okhotsk because it is located immediately eastward of the Siberia. Sea ice gives various kinds of influences to the global environment. We have particularly paid attention to the subduction of dense waters produced when sea ice form, which ventilates the intermediate water and transports nutrient materials and gasses in a long distance. It has been found that iron, a micro nutrient necessary for photosynthesis, originates in the Amur River, flows out to the Sea of Okhotsk and is transported through this intermediate-layer pathway, which is finally utilized for biological production in the western North Pacific.  Therefore, we should assess carefully the impacts of global warming and anthropogenic land use.

   The Pan-Okhotsk Research Center was established in 2004 attached to the Institute of Low Temperature Science to foster international collaborations to study environmental issues associated with the Sea of Okhotsk and surrounding regions. The center was restructured and the two sections, that is, “Climate Change Research Section” and “Land-Ocean System Section”, were established. Further, “International Research Promotion Office” is specifically organized to foster the international collaborations based on the research networks that we have established in the past years. We believe that novel research fields will emerge based on the development of the international research community with the long term perspective.

Humio Mitsudera, Director