Upper layer cooling and freshening in the Norwegian Sea in relation to atmospheric forcing

J. Blindheim, V. Borovkov, Bogi Hansen, S.-Aa. Malmberg, William Turrell, S. Østerhus

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180 Citations (Scopus)


Several time series in the Norwegian Sea indicate an upper layer decrease in temperature and salinity since the 1960s. Time series from Weather Station “M”, from Russian surveys in the Norwegian Sea, from Icelandic standard sections, and from Scottish and Faroese observations in the Faroe–Shetland area have similar trends and show that most of the Norwegian Sea is affected. The reason is mainly increased freshwater supply from the East Icelandic Current. As a result, temperature and salinity in some of the time series were lower in 1996 than during the Great Salinity Anomaly in the 1970s. There is evidence of strong wind forcing, as the NAO winter index is highly correlated with the lateral extent of the Norwegian Atlantic Current. Circulation of Atlantic water into the western Norwegian and Greenland basins seems to be reduced while circulation of upper layer Arctic and Polar water into the Norwegian Sea has increased. The water-mass structure is further affected in a much wider sense by reduced deep-water formation and enhanced formation of Arctic intermediate waters. A temperature rise in the narrowing Norwegian Atlantic Current is strongest in the north.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-680
Number of pages26
JournalDeep sea research part 1: oceanographic research papers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000


  • Norwegian sea
  • temperature variation


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