Monitoring the Western Arctic Boundary Current in a Warming Climate: Atmospheric Forcing and Oceanographic Response

Our project focuses on the fate of the Pacific water that enters the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. As part of our project we will continue to maintain a mooring positioned in the center of the current to measure its physical and biological properties.

The monitoring mooring is situated at 152 degrees W near the Beaufort Sea shelfbreak, roughly 150 km downstream of Pt. Barrow, AK. It will be deployed from fall 2018 to fall 2022 (in two 2-year installments). This will extend the timeseries at this location to 17 years. The mooring records the velocity of the water column and pack ice using two acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), and measures temperature, salinity, and pressure using a series of sensors spaced along the wire. Chlorophyll fluorescence and nitrate will be measured at 35 m (at the top float of the mooring), and a passive acoustic recorder situated near the base of the mooring will record marine mammal calls. Zooplankton concentration will be estimated using the ADCP backscatter data. Among other things, this will allow us to determine how much water, heat, nutrients, chlorophyll, and freshwater are transported by the current, and, importantly, assess how much exchange occurs between the interior of the Arctic Ocean and the boundary waters. Upwelling occurs during all seasons along the Beaufort slope, and it appears to be increasing as the climate warms. The mooring is ideally suited to quantify the upwelling, as well as any downwelling that occurs. The shipboard sampling will include occupations of some of the Distributed Biological Observatory transects, which will contribute to that long-term study.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
ISO Topics oceans
Primary Contact Robert Pickart (
Primary Organization Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Funding Organizations National Science Foundation
Other Organizations National Science Foundation
Organization Types Academic, Federal
Geo-keywords Arctic
Status Ongoing
Start Date 2018-01-01
End Date 2022-12-31
Created March 30, 2018, 02:20 (AKDT)
Last Updated July 1, 2021, 23:50 (AKDT)