National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1996

On the climatological mean circulation over the eastern Bering Sea shelf

Reed, R.K., and P.J. Stabeno

Cont. Shelf Res., 16(10), 1297–1305, doi: 10.1016/0278-4343(95)00067-4 (1996)

We derive climatological mean summer circulation over the eastern Bering Sea shelf. Geostrophic flow (from CTD data, 1975-1989) and drifter velocities (from satellite-tracked buoys, 1986-1994) were used. The following features are shown: (1) in depths >100 m, a northwestward flow of ~4 cm s−1, which is largely baroclinic; (2) near the 50 m isobath, a flow of ~2 cm s−1, which is only partially baroclinic; and (3) a semi-permanent, convoluted flow of 1-2 cm s−1, between the 100 and 50 m isobaths, that was not recognized in earlier analyses. Data from current moorings indicate that there is no significant tidal enhancement of net flow on the shelf as earlier suggested. This new climatology also clearly shows a divergence of the inflow through Unimak Pass, and it suggests that the shelf salinity distribution is influenced by advection as well as diffusion.

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