The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Dam in the Bering Strait

Reference work entry

Dam in the Bering Strait – a project of the dam was first proposed in the late nineteenth century in order to improve the climate of the Far East and surrounding areas. The original purpose was to stop the flow of cold water and ice from the Arctic Basin to the Bering Sea, because it was thought that the cold currents most of all cooled the Far Eastern Maritime Region, Japanese islands, and others. It was later disclosed that the effect of the Arctic water runoff on the climate is very insignificant and that the relatively warm waters come from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Basin. After that, the dam project was revised: it had to stop the flow of warm Pacific waters to the Chukchi Sea and thus to improve the heat supply of the Bering Sea and the surrounding areas.

Eventually, there were several studies on the use of the Bering Strait. D. White, professor of the University of California (USA), offered to warm Pacific waters entering the Bering Strait, in nuclear power plants. Soviet engineer A.I. Shumilin proposed integrated utilization of the Bering Strait, primarily, by mechanical pumping to increase the natural flow of Pacific waters through the Bering Strait, thereby mitigating climate in the Bering Sea, and at the same time to build a railway linking Chukotka and Alaska. In 1956, the Soviet engineer and geographer P.M. Borisov proposed the project “co-current regeneration of warm Atlantic waters through the Arctic Basin to the Pacific Ocean, as a basis for gradual improvement of the climate.” The idea of this project was the construction of a dam over the Bering Strait, which would provide ice melting in the Arctic Ocean due to the direct flow of the Atlantic waters, which would eventually lead to a shift of all natural areas to the north and thus “improve the climate across northern Eurasia and North America.”

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016