National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

The Bering Sea in 1998: The second consecutive year of extreme weather-forced anomalies

Hunt, G.L., C.L. Baduini, R.D. Brodeur, K.O. Coyle, N.B. Kachel, J.M. Napp, S.A. Salo, J.D. Schumacher, P.J. Stabeno, D.A. Stockwell, T.E. Whitledge, and S.I. Zeeman

Eos Trans. AGU, 80(47), 561, 565–566, doi: 10.1029/EO080i047p00561 (1999)

In 1998, anomalous conditions in the Bering Sea included elevated heat content of the water, cross-shelf advection of zooplankton and larval fish, major changes in the structure of the zooplankton community, and an unprecedented second observation of a large-scale bloom of the coccolithophorid phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi. Some of these anomalies appear to be related to the unusual weather patterns of 1997 and 1998, while the causes of others remain unknown. The Bering Sea is located in the northernmost part of the North Pacific Ocean, and its broad eastern continental shelf constitutes approximately 44% of its area. Because Pacific water must pass through the Bering Sea before entering the Arctic, climatic events in the Bering affect heat and biogeochemical transport to the Arctic. The Bering Sea, in particular its broad eastern shelf region, is also the site of some of the world?s major fisheries. It contributes over half of the U.S. fishery production, with a commercial catch worth one billion dollars in 1997.

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