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.


Variational reconstruction of the Bering Sea currents obtained as a variational inverse of the available observations are in an agreement with the conventional scheme of the Bering Sea circulation. The cyclonic gyre within the deep basin of the Bering Sea is formed by the following currents: Aleutian North Slope Current (ANSC) originating at the Near Strait and continuing along the Aleutian islands to the east; Bering Slope Current flowing along the shelf break in north-west direction; Kamchatka current exporting Bering Sea waters through the Kamchatka Strait.

On the background of general cyclonic circulation in the deep basin there exit two cyclonic gyres within Kamchatka and Aleutian deep basins. Circulation features with anticyclonic sense of rotation are also present in the Bering Sea, but not on the basin scale (e.g. a gyre in the vicinity of the Kamchatka peninsula to the west of the Shirshov Ridge, a gyre in the south-eastern part of the Aleutian basin, a gyre to the south of the Cape Navarin, where Bering Slope Current splits onto Kamchatka and Navarin currents). Meso-scale anticyclonic eddies are formed in the north-eastern part of the Bering Slope current, anticyclonic circulation is known to exist around large islands of the Aleutian Arc (or around a group of small islands).

Waters carried by the Navarin Current onto the shelf area to the south-east of cape Navarin circulate clockwise in the Gulf of Anadyr. Major part of the Navarin Current flows to the northern part of the Bering Sea through Chirikov Strait.

Some of Navarin Current water is transported to the south of the St. Lawrence Island. Then this flow passes through the Shpanberg Strait to the northern part of the Bering Sea and joins the waters flowing through the Chirikov Strait forming the Bering Straight current carrying the water to the Arctic Ocean.

The circulation on the wide east Bering Sea shelf is predominantly in north-western and Northern direction. Cyclonic circulation in the Bristol Bay is formed by the inflow of the Pacific water through the Unimak Strait. Cofiguration of the coastline and river discharge support this type of circulation if the Bristol bay.

With depth the structure of the circulation in the Bering Sea becomes simpler. Starting with the depth of 1850 m and deeper north of the Bering Island there is a general drift of water to east, which indirectly confirms inflow of the Pacific water in the eastern part of the Kamchatka Strait.