The air and water temperatures remained higher than average and typical of warm years, close to those in 2017. In autumn, the Atlantic waters (>3°С) covered relatively large area, but it decreased compared to 2017; the Arctic and cold bottom waters (<0°С) still covered rather small areas, the area of the former was close to that in 2017 but the area of the latter increased. Ice coverage was much lower than average and close to that in 2017. There was no ice in the sea from August to October; in December, the ice coverage was the lowest since 1951.
The Barents Sea is a shelf sea of the Arctic Ocean. Being a transition area between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Basin, it plays a key role in water exchange between them. Atlantic waters enter the Arctic Basin through the Barents Sea and the Fram Strait (Figure 3.1.1). Variations in volume flux, temperature and salinity of Atlantic waters affect hydrographic conditions in both the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean and are related to large-scale atmospheric pressure systems.