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The Late Quaternary Flow Through the Bering Strait Has Been Forced by the Southern Ocean Winds
Journal of Physical Oceanography
  • Joseph D Ortiz, Kent State University - Kent Campus
  • Doron Nof, Florida State University
  • Leonid Polyak, Ohio State University - Main Campus
  • Guillame St-Onge, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski
  • Agatha Lisé-Pronovost, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski
  • Sathy Naidu, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Dennis Darby, Old Dominion University
  • Stefanie Brachfeld, Montclair State University
Publication Date
Document Type
  • airflow,
  • fluxes,
  • forcing,
  • atmosphere-ocean interaction,
  • wind,
  • ocean models

Because North and South America are surrounded by water, they constitute together a gigantic island whose peripheral sea level is controlled by the winds east of the island, winds along the western boundary of the island, the freshwater flux, and the meridional overturning cell. This idea has been expressed in several articles where a series of analytical models show that the Bering Strait (BS) flow is controlled by the interplay of the Southern Winds (sometimes referred to as the “Subantarctic Westerlies”), and the North Hemisphere freshwater flux. Here, the authors report a paleoceanographic analysis of proxies in the BS as well as the Southern Ocean, which clearly support the above through employment of a slowly varying time-dependent version of the coupled Sandal–Nof model.

This study shows a very strong correlation between the Southern Ocean winds and the BS flow. A mid-Holocene weakening of the Southern Winds followed by the cession of freshwater fluxes from the melting Laurentide ice sheet strengthened the BS flow for several thousand years. Increasing the Southern Winds enhances the near surface, cross-equatorial flow from the Southern Ocean to the Northern Hemisphere. This cross-equatorial flow decreases the Arctic outflow into the Atlantic demonstrating a dynamic linkage between the Southern Ocean Winds and the mean flow through the BS.


Copyright 2012 AMS. Available on publisher's site at

Citation Information
Joseph D Ortiz, Doron Nof, Leonid Polyak, Guillame St-Onge, et al.. "The Late Quaternary Flow Through the Bering Strait Has Been Forced by the Southern Ocean Winds" Journal of Physical Oceanography Vol. 42 Iss. 11 (2012)
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