Climatological Oceanographic Atlas of the Bering Sea
Gleb Panteleev, Vladimir Luchin, Phyllis Stabeno, Dmitri Nechaev, Takashi Kikuchi


Gridded data files for all plots can be found here.


Major features of the large-scale salinity distribution in the Bering Sea do not exhibit significant seasonal variations. Highest salinities in the region are observed in Pacific waters entering the Bering Sea through numerous passages of the Commander - Aleutian chain of islands. Salinity of these waters decreases gradually as Pacific waters propagate into the Bering Sea.

Low salinity values on the level 7.5 m are typically observed near-shore due to fresh water discharge by the rivers. The area of low salinity plumes and strength of the halocline depends on the season and volume of the fresh water discharge. The most pronounced feature in the Bering Sea upper layer salinity distribution is the presence of the frontal zone dividing shelf areas and the waters of the deep basin (filled with the transformed Pacific waters).

Salinity distribution of the subsurface and deep waters in the Bering Sea reflects the structure of the large-scale circulation. Salinity distribution allows to conclude that the inflow of high salinity Pacific water occurs in the deep passes of the western part of the Aleutian Arc (with the exception of the Kamchatka Strait). As this water propagates into the interior of the deep basin, the corresponding salinity values reduce. Considerable reduction of salinity occurs in the vicinity of the continental slope as a result of intense vertical and lateral mixing and due to formation of the anticyclonic eddies on the slope.