National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2010

A synoptic survey of young mesoscale eddies in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska

Ladd, C., W.R. Crawford, C.E. Harpold, W.K. Johnson, N.B. Kachel, P.J. Stabeno, and F. Whitney

Deep-Sea Res. II, 56(24), 2460–2473, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2009.02.007 (2009)

Eddies in the Gulf of Alaska are important sources of coastal water and associated nutrients, iron, and biota to the high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll central Gulf of Alaska. Three primary eddy formation regions along the eastern boundary of the gulf have been identified, (from south to north, Haida, Sitka, and Yakutat). In the spring of 2005, three eddies (one of each type) were sampled soon after their formation. The subsurface eddy core water in all three eddies was defined by high iron concentrations and low dissolved oxygen compared with surrounding basin water. The Sitka and Yakutat core waters also exhibited a subsurface temperature maximum (mesothermal water) coincident in depth with the iron maximum, suggesting that eddies may play a role in the formation of temperature inversions observed throughout the Gulf of Alaska. The data suggest different formation regions, with the Yakutat eddy forming in shallow shelf water with riverine input, while the Sitka and Haida eddies appear to form in deeper water.

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