Key Facts about Yellow Sea

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A US F-16 fighter appears to have crashed into Yellow Sea waters off the coast of South Korea recently.

About Yellow Sea

  • It is a marginal sea in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Location:
    • It is situated between mainland China to the west and north, the Korean Peninsula to the east, and the Shandong Peninsula and Liaodong Peninsula to the south.
    • It is positioned to the north of the East China Sea.
  • The sea was named for the yellowish sand particles originating from the Gobi Desert that descend on the surface of the sea, thereby giving it a golden yellow color.
  • Size: Also referred to in China as Huang Hai and in North and South Korea as the West Sea, the Yellow Sea is 870 kilometres long and 556 kilometres wide, covering an area of 380,000 sq km.
  • Depth: It is one of the largest shallow areas of the continental shelf in the world, with an average depth of 44 metres and a maximum depth of 152 metres.
  • Inflow: The main rivers that drain into the Yellow Sea include the Hai River, the Yalu River, the Han River, the Taedong River, and the Yellow River.
  • Islands: The Yellow Sea is dotted with numerous islands, the largest of which include Jeju Island (South Korea), Shandong Peninsula islands (China), and Ganghwa Island (South Korea).
  • Climate: The climate is characterized by very cold, dry winters and wet, warm summers.
  • Currents:
    • The warm current of the Yellow Sea is a part of the Tsushima Current, which diverges near the western part of the Japanese island of Kyushu and flows at less than 0.5 mile (0.8 km) per hour northward into the middle of the sea. 
    • Along the continental coasts, southward-flowing currents prevail, which strengthen markedly in the winter monsoon period, when the water is cold, turbid, and of low salinity.

Q1) What is an Ocean Current?

Ocean currents are the continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater driven by gravity, wind (Coriolis Effect), and water density. Ocean water moves in two directions: horizontally and vertically. Horizontal movements are referred to as currents, while vertical changes are called upwellings or downwellings. This abiotic system is responsible for the transfer of heat, variations in biodiversity, and Earth’s climate system.

Source: US F-16 Crashes Into Yellow Sea Off South Korea, Yonhap Says