Long-Term Movement of Satellite-Tracked Buoys in the Beaufort Sea.
COAST GUARD RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER GROTON CT
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Trajectories of five free-drifting satellite-tracked buoys released during the summer of 1979 in open water in the Beaufort Sea north of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula indicate a pronounced east-to-west near-surface flow along the northern Alaskan coast. The direction of the buoy movement is in general agreement with the direction of the flow in the southern portion of the Beaufort Sea Gyre as previously calculated from dynamic topography. The buoy tracks and speeds differ from the surface circulation calculated from the dynamic topography in two respects. First, the average buoy speeds approx. 20 cms were approximately 3 times larger than calculated surface currents. Second, three of the buoys moved onto the Chukchi Sea shelf near Wrangel Island instead of turning to the northwest near Point Barrow with the Beaufort Sea Gyre. The remaining two buoys stopped transmitting before reaching Point Barrow. Analysis of the available wind data suggests that the surface currents as indicated by the motions of the buoys were strongly influenced by the local wind. For surface wind speeds, or 5 ms the buoys moved 22 deg to the right of the wind at 3.8 of the wind speed. Author
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography