National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2009

Freshwater transport from the Pacific to the Bering Sea through Amukta Pass

Ladd, C., and P.J. Stabeno

Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L14608, doi: 10.1029/2009GL039095 (2009)

Flow through the Aleutian Passes connects the North Pacific to the Bering Sea and ultimately the Arctic. Moorings spanning the width of Amukta Pass, deployed 2001–2008, allow quantitative assessment of volume and freshwater transports. Volume transport through Amukta Pass averages 4.7 Sv, with maximum transport in January, minimum in September, and a secondary maximum in July. Average freshwater transport through Amukta Pass is ∼5800 km3 yr−1 with a seasonal cycle similar to that of volume transport. Combining this estimate with first-order estimates of freshwater transports in the other eastern passes in the Aleutian chain suggests that total freshwater transport is more than five times the cross-shelf flux of freshwater needed to supply transport through Bering Strait into the Arctic. Ongoing measurements in the Aleutian Passes are critical to understanding the influence of these waters on the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

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