Transport of Pacific Water Into the Canada Basin and the Formation of the Chukchi Slope Current Academic Article uri icon


  • A high?resolution regional ocean model together with moored hydrographic and velocity measurements is used to identify the pathways and mechanisms by which Pacific water, modified over the Chukchi shelf, crosses the shelf break into the Canada Basin. Most of the Pacific water flowing into the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait enters the Canada Basin through Barrow Canyon. Strong advection allows the water to cross the shelf break and exit the shelf. Wind forcing plays little role in this process. Some of the outflowing water from Barrow Canyon flows to the east into the Beaufort Sea; however, approximately 0.4 to 0.5 Sv turns to the west forming the newly identified Chukchi Slope Current. This transport occurs at all times of year, channeling both summer and winter waters from the shelf to the Canada Basin. The model indicates that approximately 75% of this water was exposed to the mixed layer within the Chukchi Sea, while the remaining 25% was able to cross the shelf during the stratified summer before convection commences in late fall. We view the ?(0.5) Sv of the Chukchi Slope Current as replacing Beaufort Gyre water that would have come from the east in the absence of the cross-topography flow in Barrow Canyon. The weak eastward flow on the Beaufort slope is also consistent with the local disruption of the Beaufort Gyre by the Barrow Canyon outflow.

publication date

  • October 2018