Direct Velocity Measurements in Bering Strait in Support of RUSALCA 2012

Bering Strait is the Pacific Gateway to the Arctic Ocean, and, as such, is a crucial choke point
where heat, freshwater, nutrients, and fish enter the Arctic domain. In recent years the flow
through Bering Strait has warmed and freshened (Woodgate et al., 2010), and it is believed that
this has impacted the melting of the summer pack ice (Steele et al., 2010). The circulation in the
vicinity of the strait is complex and varies on scales of days to years. In the summer, one of the
major components of the circulation is the Alaska Coastal Current which advects heat and
freshwater northward on the eastern side of the Strait. In the central and western side of the strait
Anadyr water flows northward and feeds the central and western Chukchi Sea. An added
complication is the intermittent presence of the Siberian Coastal current, which flows southward
towards the strait adjacent to the Siberian coast. The precise pathways and interaction of these
different currents needs additional study in order to help sort out the connection between the
Pacific and the Arctic Oceans and the climatic impacts of the properties fluxed northward.