Inter-Annual and Shorter-Term Variability in Physical and Biological Characteristics Across Barrow Canyon in August – September 2005-2014

Friday, 19 December 2014
Carin J Ashjian1, Stephen R Okkonen2, Robert G Campbell3 and Philip Alatalo1, (1)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (2)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (3)University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay, Narragansett, RI, United States
Late summer physical and biological conditions along a 37-km transect crossing Barrow Canyon have been described for the past ten years as part of an ongoing program, supported by multiple funding sources including the NSF AON, focusing on inter-annual variability and the formation of a bowhead whale feeding hotspot near Barrow. These repeated transects (at least two per year, separated in time by days-weeks) provide an opportunity to assess the inter-annual and shorter term (days-weeks) changes in hydrographic structure, ocean temperature, current velocity and transport, chlorophyll fluorescence, nutrients, and micro- and mesozooplankton community composition and abundance. Inter-annual variability in all properties was high and was associated with larger scale, meteorological forcing. Shorter-term variability could also be high but was strongly influenced by changes in local wind forcing. The sustained sampling at this location provided critical measures of inter-annual variability that should permit detection of longer-term trends that are associated with ongoing climate change.