TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 66 (No. 3), pp. 405-424, 2010

Estimation of Heat Flux through the Eastern Bering Strait

Kohei Mizobata1*, Koji Shimada1, Rebecca Woodgate2, Sei-Ichi Saitoh3 and Jia Wang4

1Department of Ocean Sciences, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Kounan, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan
2Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105-6698, U.S.A.
3Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Minato-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 041-8611, Japan
4NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), 2205 Commonwealth Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48108, U.S.A.

(Received 2 May 2008; in revised form 15 February 2010; accepted 19 February 2010)

Abstract: We estimated the northward heat flux through the eastern channel of the Bering Strait during the ice-free seasons between 1999 and 2008. This is likely about half of the total heat flux through the strait. The net volume transport and heat flux through the eastern channel of the strait were estimated from multiple linear regression models with in-situ/satellite remotely sensed datasets and NCEP reanalysis 10 m wind. The net volume transport was well explained by the west-east slope of sea level anomaly and NNW wind component at the strait. On the heat flux, the contributions of both barotropic and baroclinic components were taken into account. Estimated volume transport and vertical profile of temperature were used to calculate northward heat flux through the eastern channel of the strait. The magnitude of the estimated heat flux is comparable to estimates from in-situ measurements. Averaged heat flux in the eastern Bering Strait between 2004 and 2007 was about 1.9 times larger than that between 2000 and 2003. Maximum heat flux occurred in 2004, and same magnitude of heat flux was estimated from 2005 to 2007. This resulted not only from the increase in northward volume transport but also anomalous warm water intrusion from the Bering Sea. Our results suggest a candidate among the important parameters controlling heat budget, which contributes to the Arctic sea ice reduction, whereas more studies are required to confirm that this mechanism is actually responsible for the interannual and longer timescale variability.

*Corresponding author E-mail: mizobata@kaiyodai.ac.jp

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