National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

Physical environment around the Pribilof Islands

Stabeno, P.J., J.D. Schumacher, S.A. Salo, G.L. Hunt, Jr., and M. Flint

In Dynamics of the Bering Sea: A Summary of Physical, Chemical, and Biological Characteristics, and a Synopsis of Research on the Bering Sea, T.R. Loughlin and K. Ohtani (eds.), University of Alaska Sea Grant, AK-SG-99-03, North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), 193–215 (1999)

The Pribilof Islands are located on the southeast Bering Sea shelf, near the shelf break. They form a natural laboratory to study changes in climate. Mean wind speeds are weakest during July and typically out of the south. From September through June winds are typically out of the north, with strongest winds occurring in winter. Northerly winds result in the advection of ice toward the Pribilof Islands. During most winters (~75%), ice reaches St. Paul Island. The currents flow clockwise around the islands. Sea surface temperatures are determined by the depth of the mixed layer. North of the islands bottom temperature is determined by the previous winter?s ice extent, while to the south bottom temperature is determined by advective processes.

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