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The Norwegian Sea
Map of the Norwegian Sea
Mean depth: 1600-1750 meters
Maximum depth: 3,970 meters (13,020 feet)
Area of surface: 1,380,000 square kilometers
Volume: 2,400,000 cubic kilometers
Water salinity: about 35 parts per 1,000
A cruise ship, the SuperStar Libra, formerly operated as the Norwegian Sea.

The Norwegian Sea (Norwegian: Norskehavet) is part of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway, located between the North Sea (i.e. north of Scotland) and the Greenland Sea.

It adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a submarine ridge running between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. To the North, the Jan Mayen Ridge separates it from the Greenland Sea.

The Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea are sometimes collectively referred to as the Nordic Seas.



Phytoplankton bloom in the Norwegian Sea.

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Norwegian Sea as follows:[1]

On the Northeast. 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 (27°45'E).

On the Southeast. The West coast of Norway between North Cape and Cape Stadt (62°10′N 5°00′E / 62.167°N 5°E / 62.167; 5).

On the South. From a point on the West coast of Norway in Latitude 61°00' North along this parallel to Longitude 0°53' West thence a line to the NE extreme of Fuglö (62°21′N 6°15′W / 62.35°N 6.25°W / 62.35; -6.25) and on to the East extreme of Gerpir (65°05′N 13°30′W / 65.083°N 13.5°W / 65.083; -13.5) in Iceland.

On the West. The Southeastern limit of Greenland Sea [A line joining the Southernmost point of West Spitzbergen [sic] to the Northern point of Jan Mayen Island, down the West coast of that island to its Southern extreme, thence a Line to the Eastern extreme of Gerpir (65°05′N 13°30′W / 65.083°N 13.5°W / 65.083; -13.5) in Iceland].


In the Norwegian Sea and Greenland Sea, surface water descends two to three kilometres down to the bottom of the ocean, forming cold, oxygen-rich groundwater. As a result, there is a warm surface current and a cold depth current running along the west coast of Norway.

The so-called East Iceland Current transports cold water south from the Norwegian Sea towards Iceland and then east, along the Arctic Circle. In the Norwegian Current, a branch of the Gulf Stream carries warm water masses northward and contributes to the mild and moist climate in Norway. The Norwegian Sea is the source of much of the North Atlantic Deep Water.

The region remains ice-free all year due to the warm and saline Norwegian Atlantic Current. It provides rich fishing grounds, with catches mostly consisting of cod, herrings, sardines and anchovies. Nowadays, shifts and fluctuations in these currents are closely monitored, as they are thought to be indicators for an ongoing climate change.


Large-scale oil and gas production in the Norwegian Sea started in 1993. In recent news, the Norwegian Sea was proposed as a prototype storage site for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (see carbon sink). This has yet to be confirmed.


  1. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 18 December 2009.  
  • Nansen and Helland-Hansen: report for the Norwegian Fishery and Marine Investigations. vol. ii. No. 2, 1909
  • Hopkins: The GIN Sea - A synthesis of its physical oceanography and literature review 1972-1985. 1991
  • Fairbridge (editor): The Encyclopedia of Oceanography. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1966
  • Skjoldal, H.R. (editor):"The Norwegian Sea Ecosystem". Tapir Forlag, Norway.2004

External links

Coordinates: 69°00′N 0°01′E / 69°N 0.017°E / 69; 0.017

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

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 Spits bergen 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. I.79 1000 „ I.65 2000 „. 1.05 „ „ 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 f; rst 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.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Norwegian Sea


Norwegian Sea

  1. The northernmost part of the Atlantic Ocean, located northwest of Norway.


  • Latvian: Norvēģu jūra
  • Lithuanian: Norvegijos jūra
  • Norwegian: Norskehavet n.
  • Swedish: Norska havet n.

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