On the Oceanic Communication Between the Western Subartic Gyre and the Deep Bering Sea
Kinney, J. Clement
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Sparse information is available on the communication between the northern North Pacific and the southern Bering Sea. We present results from a multi-decadal simulation of a high-resolution, pan-Arctic ice-ocean model to address the long-term mean and variability and synthesize limited observations in the Alaskan Stream, Western Subarctic Gyre, and southern Bering Sea. While the mean circulation in the Bering Sea basin is cyclonic, during the 26-year simulation meanders and eddies are continuously present throughout the region, which is consistent with observations from Cokelet and Stabeno (1997). Prediction (instead of prescription) of the Alaskan Stream and Aleutian throughflow allows reproduction of meanders and eddies in the Alaskan Stream and Kamchatka Current similar to those that have been observed previously (e.g. Crawford et al., 2000; Rogachev and Carmack, 2002; Rogachev and Gorin, 2004). Interannual variability in mass transport and property fluxes is particularly strong across the western Aleutian Island Passes, including Buldir Pass, Near Strait, and Kamchatka Strait. Much of this variability can be attributed to the presence of meanders and eddies found both north and south of the passes, which are found to directly cause periodic flow reversals and maxima in the western passes. Given that modeled flow reversals and maxima last for time periods ranging between three months and two years, short-term observations (months to few years) may not be representative of the actual mean flow. These extremes in the communication across the Aleutian Island Passes have a large impact on the oceanic environmental conditions in the southern Bering Sea and could directly impact biological species there and further downstream. Therefore, we identify a need for continuous monitoring of the flow through Buldir Pass, Near, and Kamchatka straits.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2012.04.001
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