In 2020, the winter (December–March) NAO index was 1.78 that was much higher than in 2019 (0.74) and reached the fourth maximum since 1900 (after 1989 – 2.43, 1990 – 1.91 and 2015 – 1.83). Over the Barents Sea, the number of days with winds more than 15 m/s was higher than or close to the long-term mean (1981–2010) all over the year, with the largest anomaly in March. The storm activity was a record high (since 1981) in the western part of the sea in January, April and November, in the eastern part in March and April, and in the central part in March. For the whole year 2020, it was also a record high in the western Barents Sea (181 days) and reached the second highest value in the central (157 days) and eastern (165 days) parts of the sea.
Air pressure, wind and air temperature
Air temperature (http://nomad2.ncep.noaa.gov) averaged over the western (70–76°N, 15–35°E) and eastern (69–77°N, 35–55°E) Barents Sea exceeded the 1981–2010 average significantly for most of 2020 and was close to average only in January (Fig. 3.1.2). The largest positive anomalies (>3°С) were observed in the west in November and in the east in February, July and November. Small negative anomalies of −0.4 and −0.8°С were only found in the western part of the sea in March and April, respectively. For most of the year (in February and from May to November), air temperature was also much higher than in 2019 (Fig. 3.1.2). In November, the air temperature over the Barents Sea was a record high since 1948, and in the eastern part of the sea, it was also positive (1.2°С) for the first time over the entire observation period.