Winter mixed layer and formation of dichothermal water in the Bering Sea

Takahiro Miura, Toshio Suga, Kimio Hanawa

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The temperature minimum layer, called "dichothermal water", is a characteristic feature of the North Pacific subarctic gyre. In particular, dichothermal water having a density of approximately 26.6 sigma-theta (σχ), which corresponds to the densest water outcropping in winter in the North Pacific, is seen in the Bering Sea. In order to clarify the water properties, and the area in which and the process by which the dichothermal water is formed, a new seasonal mean gridded climatological dataset with a fine resolution for the Bering Sea and adjacent seas has been prepared using historically accumulated hydrographic data. Although the waters of the Alaskan Stream have temperature minimum layers, their temperature inversions are very weak in climatologies and the core densities of the temperature minimum layers are much lighter than 26.6σχ On the other hand, in the Bering Sea one can see the robust structure of temperature minimum layers, the core density of the dichothermal water being around 26.6σχ. In addition, it has been found that the properties of the dichothermal water observed in the warming season are almost the same as those in the winter mixed layer. That is, the dichothermal waters are formed in the winter mixed layer in the Bering Sea. Since these waters are found in the Kamchatka Strait, i.e., the main exit of the Bering Sea waters, it can be supposed that the dichotermal waters are exported from the Bering Sea to the Pacific Ocean by the Kamchatka Current.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-823
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec


  • Bering Sea
  • Dichothermal layer
  • Halocline
  • Mixed layer
  • Subarctic gyre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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