green dots=moorings, black dots=ctd, blue dots=xbt,
red=cruise track, depth contours from IBCAO at

SBI Mooring Cruise 2003


0308, 0317)


 United States Coast Guard

(image by USCG)

September - October 2003, Barrow - Nome, Alaska

Polar Science Center, University of Washington (UW)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)
University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF)
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Horn Point Laboratory (HPL)
Brookhaven National Lab (BNL), Earth &Space Research (ESR)
University of Delaware (UDE), Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO),
Louisiana State University (LSU), NOAA, University of California San Diego (UCSD)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)

Corresponding author: Rebecca Woodgate

The SBI (Shelf Basin Interaction) Project

How the Chukchi Sea talks to the Arctic Ocean

SBI Mooring Cruise HLY-03-03
Cruise Report (pdf)

Appendix A: Preliminary CTD sections (pdf/html)
Appendix B: Preliminary XBT sections (pdf)
Appendix C: Ice charts from NSIDC (pdf)

Preliminary Reports
HLY0303 Event logs: CTD, XBT, VPR and Nets (xls)
HLY0303 Seabeam report (Val Schmidt) (pdf)
HLY0303 75kHz ADCP report (Andreas Muenchow) (pdf)
HLY0303 153kHz ADCP report (Andreas Muenchow) (pdf)
HLY0303 CTD report (Bob Pickart) (not yet available)

Outreach in Barrow
Daily cruise reports with photos

Weekly science reports

The SBI (Shelf-Basin-Interaction) program of NSF investigates the processes of transfer and interaction between the ocean shelves, slopes and deep basins.  The focus region of this five-year multi-investigator program is the shelf/slope/basin region of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  
Under ONR sponsorship with NSF ship support, twelve oceanographic moorings have been deployed in the region from autumn 2002- 2004.  Four  moorings, [Weingartner (UAF), Aagaard (UW) & Woodgate (UW)], measure the flows from the Chukchi Sea into the Arctic, via Barrow Canyon, Herald Canyon and the Central Channel.  Eight moorings [Pickart (WHOI)] are deployed in a closely spaced array to investigate the eddy and frontal processes of transfer across and along the Beaufort slope.  (See schematic circulation overview below)
The SBI Mooring Cruise 2003 aboard the ice-breaking US Coast Guard Cutter Healy  recovered and redeployed these moorings and also conducted high resolution CTD, ADCP and SeaBeam surveys of the region

[Pickart (WHOI), Swift (SIO), Codispoti (HPL), Flagg (BNL), Whitledge (UAF), Stockwell (UAF), Padman (ESR) & Muenchow (UDE),  and
Mayer (UNH) & Chayes (LDEO)], i
ncluding net tows and plankton measurements [Ashjian (WHOI), Gallager (WHOI) & Benfield (LSU)]. We plan also to recover and redeploy acoustic recording devices for whale studies [Moore (NOAA) & Hildebrand (UCSD)].



Most simply, the output from the Chukchi Sea to the north can be considered as three branches, which exit through Herald Canyon (dark blue arrows), the Central Gap (medium blue arrows) and Barrow Canyon (light blue arrows) respectively.

 The western waters (especially those exiting through Herald Canyon) are the most nutrient rich.  There is seasonal and interannual variability in both the volume and water properties of these  branches.

Off shore of the Chukchi Sea, the surface waters and the sea-ice move mostly anticyclonically (pink arrow).  Deeper in the water column (ca.350m) the Atlantic core is seen to progress eastward (red arrow).  The Chukchi waters are found both to the north and to the east of the Chukchi slope.  One aim of the SBI program is to understand how these waters exit from the shelf into the Arctic Ocean.  

 For more details, see Chukchi Sea Circulation by Weingartner, UAF.

Map adapted from
Chukchi Sea Circulation, Weingartner et al

All sections (pdf or html)


Pre-cruise, Rebecca Woodgate visited Elementary, Middle and High Schools in Barrow, to bring physical oceanography
into the classroom.  Armed with an inflatable globe, water, salt and food-coloring, the classes learned about ocean
circulation, how you can tell where sea water is from by its "accent" (i.e. its temperature and salinity),
the different salinities of ice-melt, Pacific Water and Atlantic Water and how YOU can tell the difference
between them with your own "human salinometer", i.e. your tongue.
If tasting is too "uncool", then use food coloring and your knowledge of density difference to distinguish between the
waters.  Here is Tim Buckley's High School Class, demonstrating the layering between Pacific water (clear),
sea-ice melt (blue) and extra-high salinity water (red).

For use of any of these figures, please contact
Rebecca Woodgate (

© Polar Science Center, University of Washington, 2003

We gratefully acknowledge financial support for this work from  Office of Naval Research (ONR) High Latitude Dynamics Program and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs.

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