, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 489-498

On geostrophic reference levels in the Bering Sea basin

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Abstract

Various data sets in the deep Bering Sea are examined in an effort to find suitable reference levels for geostrophic transport computations. Because of the lack of other data, classical methods are used: mainly vertical structure of differences in geopotential (method of Defant) and mass conservation. In the western Bering Sea, maximum transports are usually, but not always, obtained by using reference levels near the bottom. In the central region, there is considerable variability, both spatial and temporal, in the depth of the most suitable reference level, which varies from ∼500 to at least 1500 db. The variations seem to be related to depth of inflow in the passes, to near-surface salinity gradients, and to features such as upward movement of water or well-developed eddies.