Tasman Front

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The Tasman Front is a relatively warm water east-flowing surface current and thermal boundary that separates the Coral Sea to the north and the Tasman Sea to the south. The name was proposed by Denham and Crook in 1976,[1] to describe a thermal front that extends from Australia and New Zealand between the Coral Sea and Tasman Sea.[2][3] Originating in the edge of the East Australian Current (EAC), the Tasman Front meanders eastward between longitudes 152° E and 164° E and latitudes 31° S and 37° S,[4][5] then reattaches to the coastline at New Zealand, forming the East Auckland Current.[6]

Topography plays a dominant role in establishing the Tasman Front.[2] Data on the Tasman Front shows that the path of the front is influenced in part by the forcing of the flow over the major ridge systems.[7] Meanders observed in the Tasman Front can be driven by meridional flows along ridges such as those observed at the New Caledonia Trough (166° E) and the Norfolk Ridge (167° E). Abyssal currents also drive meanders associated with the Lord Howe Rise (161° E) and Dampier Ridge (159° E).[8]

There have been a number of observational[5][7] and modeling[8][9] studies on this front in addition to a number of paleo-oceanographic studies of marine sediments.[10] Contrarily, there have been few biological observational studies, but those have been conducted resulted in relating the physical features of the front to properties of fish communities.[11] Likewise, there are even fewer studies relating biogeochemical properties to physical processes of the Tasman Front.[3]


  1. Denham, R. N., & Crook, F. G. (1976). The Tasman Front. New Zealand journal of marine and freshwater research, 10(1), 15-30.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrews, J. C., Lawrence, M. W., & Nilsson, C. S. (1980). Observations of the Tasman front. Journal of physical oceanography, 10(11), 1854-1869.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Baird, M. E., Timko, P. G., Middleton, J. H., Mullaney, T. J., Cox, D. R., & Suthers, I. M. (2008). Biological properties across the Tasman Front off southeast Australia. Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 55(11), 1438-1455.
  4. Stanton, B. R. (1981). An oceanographic survey of the Tasman Front. New Zealand journal of marine and freshwater research, 15(3), 289-297.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mulhearn, P. J. (1987). The Tasman Front: A study using satellite infrared imagery. Journal of physical oceanography, 17(8), 1148-1155.
  6. Roemmich, D., & Sutton, P. (1998). The mean and variability of ocean circulation past northern New Zealand: Determining the representativeness of hydrographic climatologies. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012), 103(C6), 13041-13054.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Stanton, B. R. (1979). The Tasman Front. New Zealand journal of marine and freshwater research, 13(2), 201-214.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tilburg, C. E., Hurlburt, H. E., O'Brien, J. J., & Shriver, J. F. (2001). The dynamics of the East Australian current system: the Tasman front, the East Auckland current, and the East Cape current. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 31(10), 2917-2943.
  9. Oke, P. R., & Middleton, J. H. (2001). Nutrient enrichment off Port Stephens: the role of the East Australian Current. Continental Shelf Research, 21(6), 587-606.
  10. Grant, K. M., & Dickens, G. R. (2002). Coupled productivity and carbon isotope records in the southwest Pacific Ocean during the late Miocene–early Pliocene biogenic bloom. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 187(1), 61-82.
  11. Griffiths, F. B., & Wadley, V. A. (1986). A synoptic comparison of fishes and crustaceans from a warm-core eddy, the East Australian Current, the Coral Sea and the Tasman Sea. Deep-Sea Research Part A: Oceanographic Research Papers, 33(11), 1907-1922.