| Alaska Fisheries Science Center Quarterly Report : April, May, June, 1997 - :19959 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Alaska Fisheries Science Center Quarterly Report : April, May, June, 1997
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    The quest for knowledge about ocean currents in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea has continued for centuries, with important discoveries made in the 1900s. Early this century, knowledge came from drift bottle experiments, flotsam recoveries from beaches, and reported multiple sightings of drifting derelict ships, which led to the mapping of the dominant horizontal patterns of permanent ocean currents that form the Subtropic, Subarctic, and Bering Sea Gyres. More knowledge about the ocean-wide geostrophic currents in the Subarctic Region came in the mid-1950s when the fIrst cross-ocean baseline Nansen bottle cast data were collected. As a result of these salinity-temperature-depth profile data, indirect calculations of surface flow provided the first seasonal and annual long-term mean geostrophic current charts for the Subarctic Region from 1955 to1959. By the mid-1970s, improved technology and navigational systems brought direct current measurements via satellite-tracked drifting buoys. Drifter trajectories showed that surface currents caused by winds can be considerably different from the calculated geostrophic currents and thus were very important in the calculation of surface flow.

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