Water fluxes through the Barents Sea
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The physical oceanographic conditions in the Barents Sea depend mainly on the variability in the Atlantic inflow from the Norwegian Sea and the inflow of Arctic water from the Kara Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The transport out of the Barents Sea consists of transformed Atlantic water to the Arctic Ocean and also partly to the Norwegian Sea. To describe the water balance, good estimates of the volume transports between the different seas are needed. By means of available literature, some current measurements and ocean modelling, the present paper describes the water fluxes through the Barents Sea. Russian scientists have calculated the geostrophical transport of the Atlantic current, and found a clear seasonal variation with maximum flow during wintertime. Current measurements, carried out in an array in the northeastern Barents Sea, confirm this seasonality. The outflow varies from 1 to 3 Sv with maximum during the cold season. The results from a wind-driven numerical model of the Atlantic inflow also show a clear interannual variability. Both the seasonal and interannual variability seem to be linked to the atmospheric pressure, and the results clearly indicate the highest flow of water when the atmospheric pressure is low. Based on available literature from all the different in/ out-flow areas, we try to make a balanced budget for the Barents Sea throughflow. The results indicate an average ingoing and outgoing transport of approximately 4 Sv, of which the throughflow of Atlantic water contributes the half.