Barents Sea

Barents Sea
Barents Sea map.png
Location of the Barents Sea
LocationArctic Ocean
Coordinates75°N 40°E / 75°N 40°E / Barents Sea)
Primary inflowsNorwegian Sea, Arctic Ocean
Basin countriesNorway and Russia
Surface area1,400,000 km2 (540,000 sq mi)
Average depth230 m (750 ft)
ReferencesInstitute of Marine Research, Norway

The Barents Sea (Norwegian: Barentshavet; Russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean,[1] located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters.[2] Known among Russians in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea ("Norwegian Sea"), the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz.

It is a rather shallow shelf sea, with an average depth of 230 metres (750 ft), and is an important site for both fishing and hydrocarbon exploration.[3] The Barents Sea is bordered by the Kola Peninsula to the south, the shelf edge towards the Norwegian Sea to the west, and the archipelagos of Svalbard to the northwest, Franz Josef Land to the northeast and Novaya Zemlya to the east. The islands of Novaya Zemlya, an extension of the northern end of the Ural Mountains, separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.

Despite being part of the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea has been characterized as "turning into the Atlantic" because of its status as "the Arctic warming hot spot." Hydrologic changes due to global warming have led to a reduction in sea ice and in stratification of the water column, which could lead to major changes in weather in Eurasia.[4]


Shores of the Barents (Murman) Sea. From "Tabula Russiae", Joan Blaeu's, Amsterdam, 1614.

The southern half of the Barents Sea, including the ports of Murmansk (Russia) and Vardø (Norway) remain ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic drift. In September, the entire Barents Sea is more or less completely ice-free. Until the Winter War (1939–40), Finland's territory also reached to the Barents Sea, with the harbor at Petsamo being Finland's only ice-free winter harbor.

There are three main types of water masses in the Barents Sea: Warm, salty Atlantic water (temperature >3 °C, salinity >35) from the North Atlantic drift, cold Arctic water (temperature <0 °C, salinity <35) from the north, and warm, but not very salty coastal water (temperature >3 °C, salinity <34.7). Between the Atlantic and Polar waters, a front called the Polar Front is formed. In the western parts of the sea (close to Bear Island), this front is determined by the bottom topography and is therefore relatively sharp and stable from year to year, while in the east (towards Novaya Zemlya), it can be quite diffuse and its position can vary a lot between years.

The lands of Novaya Zemlya attained most of their early Holocene coastal deglaciation approximately 10,000 years before present.[5]


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the "Barentsz Sea" [sic] as follows:[6]

On the west: The northeastern limit of the Norwegian Sea [A line joining the southernmost point of West Spitzbergen [sic] to North Cape of Bear Island, through this island to Cape Bull and thence on to North Cape in Norway (25°45'E)].
On the northwest: The eastern shore of West Spitzbergen [sic], Hinlopen Strait up to 80° latitude north; south and east coasts of North-East Land [island of Nordaustlandet] to Cape Leigh Smith (80°05′N 28°00′E / 80°05′N 28°00′E / 80.083; 28.000).
On the north: Cape Leigh Smith across the Islands Bolshoy Ostrov (Great Island) [Storøya], Gilles [Kvitøya] and Victoria; Cape Mary Harmsworth (southwestern extremity of Alexandra Land) along the northern coasts of Franz-Josef Land as far as Cape Kohlsaat (81°14′N 65°10′E / 81°14′N 65°10′E / 81.233; 65.167).
On the east: Cape Kohlsaat to Cape Zhelaniya (Desire); west and southwest coast of Novaya Zemlya to Cape Kussov Noss and thence to western entrance Cape, Dolgaya Bay (70°15′N 58°25′E / 70°15′N 58°25′E / 70.250; 58.417) on Vaigach Island. Through Vaigach Island to Cape Greben; thence to Cape Belyi Noss on the mainland.
On the south: The northern limit of the White Sea [A line joining Svyatoi Nos (Murmansk Coast, 39°47'E) and Cape Kanin].

Other islands in the Barents Sea include Chaichy and Timanets.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Баренц Хы
Afrikaans: Barentssee
العربية: بحر بارنتس
asturianu: Mar de Barents
azərbaycanca: Barens dənizi
تۆرکجه: بارنس دنیزی
Bân-lâm-gú: Barents Hái
башҡортса: Баренц диңгеҙе
беларуская: Баранцава мора
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Баранцава мора
български: Баренцово море
bosanski: Barentsovo more
brezhoneg: Mor Barents
čeština: Barentsovo moře
Cymraeg: Môr Barents
Deutsch: Barentssee
dolnoserbski: Barentsowe mórjo
español: Mar de Barents
Esperanto: Barenca Maro
føroyskt: Barentshavið
français: Mer de Barents
Frysk: Barentssee
한국어: 바렌츠해
Հայերեն: Բարենցի ծով
hornjoserbsce: Barentsowe morjo
hrvatski: Barentsovo more
Bahasa Indonesia: Laut Barents
íslenska: Barentshaf
italiano: Mare di Barents
עברית: ים ברנץ
Кыргызча: Баренц деңизи
latviešu: Barenca jūra
lietuvių: Barenco jūra
Limburgs: Barentszziè
Livvinkarjala: Barentsanmeri
македонски: Баренцово Море
მარგალური: ბარენციშ ზუღა
Nederlands: Barentszzee
日本語: バレンツ海
norsk nynorsk: Barentshavet
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Barens dengizi
português: Mar de Barents
română: Marea Barents
Simple English: Barents Sea
slovenčina: Barentsovo more
slovenščina: Barentsovo morje
српски / srpski: Баренцово море
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Barentsovo more
svenska: Barents hav
татарча/tatarça: Баренц диңгезе
Türkçe: Barents Denizi
українська: Баренцове море
vepsän kel’: Barencan meri
Tiếng Việt: Biển Barents
West-Vlams: Barentszzêe
Winaray: Dagat Barents
吴语: 巴倫支海
ייִדיש: בארענטס ים
Yorùbá: Òkun Barents
粵語: 巴倫支海
中文: 巴倫支海