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Air temperature data from the NOMADS (NOAA Operational Model Archive Distribution System website were averaged over the western (70–76°N, 15–35°E) and eastern (69–77°N, 35–55°E) Barents Sea. During 2012, positive air temperature anomalies prevailed in the Barents Sea, with the largest values (4–7°C) in the eastern part of the sea from January to April (Figure 4.2.2).

During 2013, the NAO index changed from negative values in January–March to slightly positive values which lasted the rest of the year. During winter (2012 –2013) northerly, northwesterly and northeasterly winds prevailed over the Barents Sea; during summer (April–August) southerly, southwesterly, and southeasterly winds prevailed. During autumn (September–October) wind direction shifted to easterly and northeasterly.

Marine sediments are mixtures of grains of varying sizes on the seabed; they serve as functionally important habitats for benthic organisms. The relative proportion of grains in different categories used to describe sediment can be classified as: mud (clay and silt) <0.063 mm; sand 0.063-2 mm; gravel 2-64 mm; cobbles 64-256 mm; and boulders >256 mm. The present day sedimentation pattern in the Barents Sea shows low or no sediment deposition on the shallow bank areas due to relatively strong bottom currents.

In 2012, the oxygen saturation (dissolved oxygen) level at the bottom layer of the southern Barents Sea was much lower than the 1958-2012 long-term average, and was lower than observed in 2011. The oxygen-saturation anomaly — averaged fromJanuary to September — was –2.14% in 2012, compared to –0.79% in 2011 (Figure 4.2.12). The largest negative anomaly occurred during the first half of the year. In 2013, oxygen saturation in the Kola section increased and was slightly above the long-term average.

Meteorological conditions over the Barents Sea during winter 2011/2012, resulted in decreasing sea-ice coverage. From January through July 2012, ice coverage (expressed as a percentage of the sea area) was 17–32% below average and 7–25% lessthan in 2011 (Figure 4.2.11). During February and July 2012, sea-ice coverage was the smallest observed since 1951 for these months. In August and September 2012, there was no ice in the Barents Sea; the ice edge was located much farther

The Fugløya–Bear Island section receives all Atlantic Water entering the Barents Sea from the southwest. Throughout 2013, Atlantic Water temperature was 0.2°C - 0.5°C above the 1977-2014 long-term average (Figure 4.2.10). Similar to temperature, water salinity also was above the 1977-2014 long-term average throughout 2013, with the anomalies ranging between 0.02 and 0.05, and trending downwards throughout the year (Figure 4.2.11).

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The issue of present and potential radioactive contamination in the marine environment has received considerable attention in Norway. The Norwegian marine monitoring programme (RAME) focuses on monitoring of radioactivity both in coastal areas and in the open sea. This programme also includes monitoring of discharges from Norwegian sources and collection of discharge data relevant for the long-range transport of radionuclides from various sources (NRPA, 2011).

Scientists, managers and commercial fishermen from Northern Norway, Finland and north-west Russia, White Sea area combined their efforts in the Kolarctic salmon project (2011-2013), with the aim of providing a better knowledge-base for the countries salmon management. Within this joint and unique effort bio-specimen were sampled along the North-Norwegian coast and in Russian Barents and White Seas generating the most comprehensive ecological and genetic datasets for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

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