Whither the Chukchi Slope Current? uri icon


  • AbstractRecent measurements and modeling indicate that roughly half of the Pacific-origin water exiting the Chukchi Sea shelf through Barrow Canyon forms a westward-flowing current known as the Chukchi Slope Current (CSC), yet the trajectory and fate of this current is presently unknown. In this study, through the combined use of shipboard velocity data and information from five profiling floats deployed as quasi-Lagrangian particles, we delve further into the trajectory and the fate of the CSC. During the period of observation, from early September to early October 2018, the CSC progressed far to the north into the Chukchi Borderland. The northward excursion is believed to result from the current negotiating Hanna Canyon on the Chukchi slope, consistent with potential vorticity dynamics. The volume transport of the CSC, calculated using a set of shipboard transects, decreased from approximately 2 Sv (1 Sv ? 106 m3 s?1) to near zero over a period of 4 days. This variation can be explained by a concomitant change in the wind stress curl over the Chukchi shelf from positive to negative. After turning northward, the CSC was disrupted and four of the five floats veered offshore, with one of the floats permanently leaving the current. It is hypothesized that the observed disruption was due to an anticyclonic eddy interacting with the CSC, which has been observed previously. These results demonstrate that, at times, the CSC can get entrained into the Beaufort Gyre.

publication date

  • June 2020