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Definition: The Barents Sea from Ocean

THE BARENTS AND GREENLAND SEAS MARK the boundary between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic. Most of the Arctic Ocean’s water exchange is with the north Atlantic. This exchange occurs at the Fram Strait, north of the Greenland Sea.

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Barents Sea

Greenland Sea


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Summary Article: Barents Sea
from Environmental History and Global Change: A Dictionary of Environmental History

Between N Norway, the Novaya Zemla and Svalbard. Named after the C16 Dutch explorer Willem Barents who sought the North East Passage. Due to the N Atlantic Drift the S half of the sea is ice-free throughout the year and has high biological productivity with the world’s largest deep water coral reef and a high density of seabirds. This was a whaling area from the early C17. Today it is considered vulnerable to overfishing and pollution from oil spillages. The Russian nuclear powered submarine Kursk accidentally sank off Norway in October 1989 and barges with nuclear waste have been deliberately sunk off the Novaya Zemla. The sea is shallow so that the impacts of large-scale fishing have been intense, as in the N Sea, and have led to a collapse of fish stocks. Both fishing and oil developments threaten biodiversity. This is one of the World Wildlife Fund’s priority areas.

Copyright © 2013 Ian D. Whyte

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pronunciation Willem Barents ca1550–1597 Du. navigator

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