Big and Little Diomede (RAWoodgate)
Diomede Islands, middle of the Bering Strait, looking west  (Photo: Woodgate)

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(International Polar Year)
A US-Russian Collaboration
IPY logo
Rebecca Woodgate (UW), Tom Weingartner (UAF), Terry Whitledge (UAF), Ron Lindsay (UW), Igor Lavrenov (AARI)
Corresponding author: Rebecca Woodgate (

UW= University of Washington, Seattle, USA
UAF = University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA
AARI = Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

Funded by:

NSF (National Science Foundation) Polar Programs ARC-0632154
Part of
AON (Arctic Observing Network)

NOAA logo
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration )
Arctic Program

Part of RUSALCA  (Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic)

  A High Resolution Mooring Array for IPY
  2007 Sever Research Cruise Report - August/September 2007
  2008 Lavrentiev Research Cruise Report - October 2008
  2009 Khromov Research Cruise Report - August/September 2009
   Bering Strait Basics - why is it important
   Bering Strait Oceanography (Data, cruises and more)
   International Polar Year - what's going on all over the world


The Bering Strait is the only Pacific Entrance into the Arctic Ocean.  It is a ~ 50m deep, ~ 85km wide channel, divided in two by the two Diomede Islands.  Waters flowing through the Bering Strait are a major source of nutrients for Arctic ecosystems, and an important source of freshwater both for the Arctic and (after some years) the North Atlantic.  The Bering Strait throughflow is believed to influence the Atlantic Overturning Circulation and thus, even though the Bering Strait throughflow is small, changes in its volume or properties may have impacts on world climate.
Since 1990, we have measured the Bering Strait throughflow, mostly on the eastern side which is in US waters.  Since 2004, a Russian-US collaboration has been measuring in both sides of the Strait.  Now, in this 2-year IPY project, Russian and US scientists will work together to get the best ever resolution of the physical and biological features of the Bering Strait. 

Schematic map of the Bering Strait region
The main focus of our work is an 8 mooring array (right), which will be deployed in the Strait year-round from Autumn 2007 to Autumn 2009.   Each mooring will carry instruments to meaure water velocity at all depths and temperature and salinity of the water at at least 2 levels.  The Bering Strait region is ice-covered in winter, and keels from the floating sea-ice can damage equipment.  Our moorings will use novel instrumentation (ISCATS) designed at the University of Washington to survive encounters with sea ice.  These instruments will be knocked down by sea-ice, or by very strong currents, but will bounce back when the ice/current is gone.   This 8 mooring array (with 3 moorings in the Russian channel, 4 moorings in the US channel, and 1 mooring at a possible "climate" site to the north) is designed to describe the physics of the water flow and thus improve our interpretation of older data.

Schematic of the Bering Strait region and the High Resolution Mooring Arrary.  Land is marked in grey.  Depth contours (blue/green) are at 5m intervals from IBCAO bathymetry.  Dots mark mooring sites (red = with full depth velocity and dual level temperature-salinity sensors).  Black dashed line marks boundary between US and Russian EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones).  Blue solid arrows indicate the main mean flow which is towards the north.  Purple arrow (ACC) marks the warm, fresh Alaskan Coastal Current, present seasonally.  Cyan arrow (SCC) marks the cold, fresh Siberian Coastal Current present only in some years in some seasons.
Bering Strait Mooring locations

For use of any of these figures, please contact Rebecca Woodgate (
© Polar Science Center, University of Washington, 2007

We gratefully acknowledge financial support for this work the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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