Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 58 (No. 5), pp. 715-723, 2002
Frank Whitney* and Marie Robert
Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sidney, B.C., V8L 4B2, Canada
(Received 30 October 2001; in revised form 10 February 2002; accepted 12 March 2002)
Abstract: Anticyclonic mesoscale eddies form near shore each winter in the Gulf of Alaska. One site near the Queen Charlotte Islands is shown to produce eddies that transport from 3000 to 6000 km3 of coastal water up to 1000 km westward. Eddies carry shelf nutrients either into the high nutrient, low chlorophyll waters of the NE Pacific, or in a more southerly direction into seasonally nitrate depleted waters. A large eddy sampled in summer 1998 was found to have elevated particulate levels on its perimeter. Nitrate supplied to the euphotic zone by this eddy during its natal summer is estimated to be three times greater than the usual seasonal nutrient transport in the Gulf of Alaska.