Climatic conditions and water masses of the Arctic Ocean

The climatic features of the ocean are determined by its polar position. During the year over the ocean, the arctic air masses dominate.

Most of the solar energy, which still reaches the arctic latitudes, is reflected by ice. The temperature of the ice surface changes with the air temperature, decreasing to -40 ° C during the polar night and rising to 0 ° C in summer. which leads to the melting of ice. Consequently, the average air temperature in summer approaches 0 ° C, and in winter ranges from -20 to -40 ° C. Despite the fact that the Arctic Ocean is the coldest on Earth, it emits more heat into the atmosphere than it receives from it, because significant heat reserves enter the ocean with the Atlantic waters. The warm North Atlantic current, which carries water masses from west to east, significantly influences the formation of the ocean’s climate. From the Bering Strait to Greenland, water moves in the opposite direction: from east to west.

An important feature

of the nature of the Arctic Ocean is ice, which covers in winter about 9/10 of its surface. They were formed due to low temperature throughout the year and a relatively low salinity of surface waters. The decrease in salinity is due to a significant river runoff from nearby continents. Due to the fact that the movement of ice to other oceans is rather limited due to the geographic location of the ocean, the thickness of the perennial ice reaches 2-5 m. Under the influence of winds and currents, there is a slow movement of ice, leading to the formation of hummocks – accumulations of ice blocks in their places collision. There are hummocks up to 10-20 m in height. Inside the hummocks there is a high lateral pressure. There are many cases when ships were crushed by ice.

Thanks to the warm North Atlantic current, Norwegian, as well as part of the Greenland and Barents seas, remain ice-free during the year. In addition to sea ice, icebergs are constantly drifting in the Arctic Ocean. They break away from the numerous ice sheets formed on the Arctic islands. Over 5 thousand icebergs per year “supplies” only Greenland.

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Climatic conditions and water masses of the Arctic Ocean