Meteorological and oceanographic conditions

Photo: Morten Ekker, The Norwegian Environmental Agency

Meteorological and oceanographical conditions 2019
Typography
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The Barents Sea has become colder since 2015–2016, and the cooling continued from 2018 to 2019. However, the air and water temperatures are still being typical of warm years. In the western entrance of the Barents Sea, the Atlantic Water temperatures in 2019 were at the same level as in the early 2000s. Coastal and Atlantic waters in the Kola Section were fresher than in 2018. In autumn, the area of Atlantic waters (>3°С) decreased slightly and the area of Arctic waters near bottom (<0°С) increased slightly compared to 2018, whereas the area of cold bottom waters (<0°С) almost tripled com-pared to the previous year. Ice coverage has increased since 2016 due to lower temperatures and lower inflow of Atlantic Water. In 2019, the ice coverage was below average but higher than in 2018; its seasonal maximum (51%) was in March, a month earlier than usual, its seasonal minimum (1%) was in September, as usual.

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.

Figure 3.1.1. The main paths of Atlantic waters in the Barents Sea as well as Fugløya–Bear Island Section (1), Kola Section (2) and boxes in the northwestern (3) and northeastern (4) Barents Sea.Figure 3.1.1. The main paths of Atlantic waters in the Barents Sea as well as Fugløya–Bear Island Section (1), Kola Section (2) and boxes in the northwestern (3) and northeastern (4) Barents Sea.

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