Barrow Canyon Mooring Array

Motoyo Itoh and Takashi Kikuchi (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, JAMSTEC)

Barrow Canyon is one of the main gateways of Pacific Water into the Arctic basins.  In particular, most of warm and fresh Pacific Summer Water from the Bering Strait flow along the Alaskan coast, though the Barrow Canyon, and then into the Beaufort Sea.  Seasonal variation of fluxes and water properties appeared to be large. 

In order to monitor volume, heat and freshwater fluxes passing through the Barrow Canyon, JAMSTEC has been conducting mooring observations since 1996.  Results from the long-sustained mooring arrays provide evidence of heating of the inflowing Pacific Summer Water, which is potential heat source enhances sea ice melting during summer and reduce sea ice formation during winter in the western Arctic Ocean. 

Figure 1

Left: Locations of the Barrow Canyon mooring array [Barrow Canyon - West (BCW), Barrow Canyon - Center (BCC), Barrow Canyon - East (BCE)].
Center: Section of across-velocity at the mouth of the Barrow Canyon observed by R/V Mirai on September 2, 2002.  Positive number of velocity show outflow through the Barrow Canyon into the Beaufort Sea.  Locations of the mooring array and depth of the instruments are also shown.
Right: Section of temperature at the mouth of the Barrow Canyon observed by R/V Mirai on September 2, 2002.

Figure 2:

Time series of temperature (red) and salinity (blue) from September 2000 to August 2008, which were observed by the instruments equipped at 50 m depth of BCC mooring.