Variability of the Bering Sea Circulation in the Period 1992-2010

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Marine Science


Sea surface height anomalies observed by satellites in 1992-2010 are combined with monthly climatologies of temperature and salinity to estimate circulation in the southern Bering Sea. The estimated surface and deep currents are consistent with independent velocity observations by surface drifters and Argo floats parked at 1,000 m. Analysis reveals 1-3-Sv interannual transport variations of the major currents with typical intra-annual variability of 3-7 Sv. On the seasonal scale, the Alaskan Stream transport is well correlated with the Kamchatka (0.81), Near Strait (0.53) and the Bering Slope (0.37) currents. Lagged correlations reveal a gradual increase of the time the lags between the transports of the Alaskan Stream, the Bering Slope Current and the Kamchatka Current, supporting the concept that the Bering Sea basin is ventilated by the waters carried by the Alaskan Stream south of the Aleutian Arc and by the flow through the Near Strait. Correlations of the Bering Sea currents with the Bering Strait transport are dominated by the seasonal cycle. On the interannual time scale, significant negative correlations are diagnosed between the Near Strait transport and the Bering Slope and Alaskan Stream currents. Substantial correlations are also diagnosed between the eddy kinetic energy and Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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Journal of Oceanography





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