1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Norwegian Sea

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17219041911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 19 — Norwegian SeaHenry Newton Dickson

NORWEGIAN SEA, the sea enclosed between Norway, the Shetland and Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen and Bear Island. Its basin is bounded on the E. by the Spitsbergen platform, the continental shelf of the Barents Sea and the Norwegian coast: on the S. and S.W. by the North Sea, the Wyville-Thomson ridge, the Faeroe-Iceland ridge and the Iceland-Greenland ridge; on the W. by the coast of Greenland and on the N., so far as is known, by a ridge extending from Greenland to Spitsbergen. The Norwegian Sea is thus placed between the basins of the Atlantic on the one side and of the Arctic Ocean on the other: the mean depth of the submarine ridge separating it from the former being about 300 fathoms, and from the latter probably about 400 fathoms. The basin itself consists of a series of deeps, separated from one another by transverse ridges. Nansen and Helland-Hansen give the following results of measurements of the area:

Area of surface 2·58 million sq. km.
Water area at  600  metres 1·79,,,,
 ,,,, 1000   ,, 1·65,,,,
 ,,,, 2000   ,, 1·05,,,,
 ,,,, 3000   ,, 0·30,,,,
Volume 4·12 million cubic km.
Mean depth 1600 metres.

The Norwegian Sea forms the meeting-place of waters coming from the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, and it also receives coastal waters from the North Sea and connecting areas, and from the Barents Sea. As communication with other basins is cut off comparatively near the surface, the inflow and outflow of waters must take place entirely in the upper strata, and the isolated water in the deep basin has typical physical characters of its own.

The distribution and circulation of these waters are of great complexity, and have formed the subject of study by oceanographers since the region was first opened up by the Norwegian North Atlantic Expedition, 1876–1878. Much fresh light has been thrown on the subject by the work of the International Council for the study of the sea, and more particularly by the Norwegian investigators Nansen and Helland-Hansen, whose report on Norwegian Fishery and Marine Investigations (vol. ii. No. 2, 1909) contains a complete survey of present knowledge.  (H. N. D.)