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.


Reconstructions of the Bering Sea circulation performed by 4D-var data assimilation procedure demonstrated that the major features of the large scale structure of the sea surface height (SSH) distribution does not show significant seasonal or interannual variations. Variations of the seasonal and annual mean SSH mainly occur due to changes of the SSH slopes in several regions of the Bering Sea. The SSH maps presented in the Atlas reveal all known currents observed in the Bering Sea and in the adjacent part of the Pacific (Alaska Stream, Aleutian North Slope, Kamchatka and Bering Slope currents), which was not the case in some other climatological SSH products (e.g., in RIO05 MDOT).

Analysis of the climatological SSH distribution in the region of the Aleutian Arc and Commondore islands indicates inflow of the Pacific water masses in two regions: through the passes in the western part of the Aleutian Arc between 168° and 175°? and through the passes east of 174°W. In the central part of the Aleutian Arc (175°? - 174°W) water exchange between Pacific and Bering Sea occurs in both directions.

Splitting of the Bering Slope Current onto Kamchatka and Navarin currents occurs in the region 59°-61°N ? 178°-180°?. The East Bering Sea shelf receives transformed pacific water from two sources. Firstly, Pacific water entering the Bering Sea in Unimak pass is transported to the East Bering Sea shelf along the southern and eastern coast of the Bristol Bay. The second source is the Navarin current formed after splitting of the Bering Slope current to the south-east of the Cape Navarin. This current transports transformed Pacific waters along the western coast of the Gulf of Anadyr into the northern shallow part of the Bering Sea.