Circulation in the Bering Sea Basin Observed by Satellite-Tracked Drifters: 1986–1993

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  • 1 Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

From 1986 through April 1993, 86 satellite-tracked buoys were deployed in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. Most of the buoys were drogued at 40 m. A composite current pattern is derived using these data. The two principal currents (the Alaskan Stream and Kamchatka Current) are clearly evident. Eddy kinetic-mean kinetic energy ratios are low in the stream and along the western Bering Sea basin. An eastward flowing current occurred along the north flank of the Aleutian Islands, this flow was modified by inflow at the passes. Westward flow occurred north of 56°N; its source was the Bering Slope Current. The Kamchatka Current originated near 175°E along the Russian coast. Numerous eddies and meanders were observed in the Kamchatka Current; eddies were also present on the eastern side of the basin.

Abstract

From 1986 through April 1993, 86 satellite-tracked buoys were deployed in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. Most of the buoys were drogued at 40 m. A composite current pattern is derived using these data. The two principal currents (the Alaskan Stream and Kamchatka Current) are clearly evident. Eddy kinetic-mean kinetic energy ratios are low in the stream and along the western Bering Sea basin. An eastward flowing current occurred along the north flank of the Aleutian Islands, this flow was modified by inflow at the passes. Westward flow occurred north of 56°N; its source was the Bering Slope Current. The Kamchatka Current originated near 175°E along the Russian coast. Numerous eddies and meanders were observed in the Kamchatka Current; eddies were also present on the eastern side of the basin.

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