The Alaska Coastal Current: Continuity of transport and forcing


  • P. J. Stabeno,

  • R. K. Reed,

  • J. D. Schumacher


Current moorings were deployed on the continental shelf at 13 locations in the northwest Gulf of Alaska. They measured the Alaska Coastal Current at three positions along the coast during April–October 1991. The strongest currents were in the confined region of Shelikof Strait. Mean daily transport was as large as 2.5×106 m3 s−1. Mean transport over the 6-month period ranged from 0.85×106 m3 s−1 at the easternmost line (off Gore Point) to 0.64×106 m3 s1− at the westernmost section (Shelikof Strait), indicating significant transport to the south of Kodiak Island. The transports were well correlated (r > 0.8) and in phase with each other and were also correlated with wind (r ∼ 0.6). Data suggest that in Shelikof Strait and off Gore Point, baroclinic flow is ∼75% and <40%, respectively, of total transport.