The Barents Sea LME (including the White Sea subarea) - oceanographic Database



The studies of the environment and ecosystems of the Barents and White Sea subarea have been conducted for longer than a century. In the Barents Sea, a scientific and fishery expedition was headed by N.M. Knipovich in 1899. In the White Sea, a biological station on the Solovetsky Islands was established in 1883.


During 1970-80s, large-scale monitoring was undertaken of the Barents and White Sea subarea. These efforts included regular deep-water surveys at standard Sections, State-wide System of Environment Pollution observation and Control (oGSNK) studies, observations from the network of coastal stations, and aerial surveys.


Historically, studies of the Barents Sea were focused on collecting temperature conditions. Data on water temperature are of primary importance for fisheries. Hydro-physical characteristics in ice thickness depend on water temperature since the variability of salinity in the Barents Sea pelagic zone is relatively low. Data from thermohaline surveys are frequently used in calculations of water circulation.


The Barents and White Seas LME oceanographic database contains 238 286 stations for the period 1870 – 2013. 24 156 stations occur in the White Sea subarea (Figure 1).

Distribution of stations over the Barents and White Seas areas (1878-2013).
Figure 1 - Distribution of stations over the Barents and White Seas areas (1878-2013).

Распределение станций по годам и месяцам представлено на Рисунке 2.

Distribution of stations by months and years in the Barents and White Seas database (1870-2013)
Figure 2 - Distribution of stations by months (A) and years (B) in the Barents and White Seas database (1870-2013)

Tables and charts of station distribution for every month of each year for the considered period are in Inventory and archive data section.


only stations located within the boundaries of the Barents and White Sea subarea are considered here, versus the Climatic Atlas of the Arctic Seas that considers stations outside the boundaries as well (Matishov et al., 2004) 9 572 new stations have been established after 2000 and have been added to the database. of the new stations, 1 504 stations were established during the MMBI KSC RAS expeditions (Figure 3).


Stations in the Barents and White Seas database, 2001-2013
Figure 3 - Stations in the Barents and White Seas database, 2001-2013


Surveys in the deep waters of the Barents Sea have been conducted for a long period of time. Section VI of the Kola Meridian/Section (Figure 4). is of particular interest, and data is collected every month on an annual basis. With this long-standing dataset, trends regarding the variability of oceanographic processes are noted (Matishov et al., 2009; Levitus et al., 2009)


observation network of the Barents Sea.
Figure 4 - observation network of the Barents Sea.

The White Sea, due to its small size and ease of accessibility, is evenly covered by a net of surveys. Until recently, these surveys were performed systematically. Surveys were not performed during the ice season. Hydrological conditions of winter are relatively stable and only slightly impact the maritime activity.


To analyze the climatic variability of hydrological characteristics of the Barents Sea, the following two Sections are considered in the Atlas:

  • - The Kola Section, along 33°30'E.L. from Murmansk to Belyi Island and comprising Section VI (The Kola Meridian) and to 80°N.L. (Figure 5);
  • - Medvezhinsky Section, along параллели 74°30'N.L. parallel to Bear Island to the Novaya Zemlya and uniting oceanographic Sections XXIX and XVII (Figure 6).


. Distribution of stations in the 80-km buffer zone and bottom relief along the Kola Section.
Figure 5 - Distribution of stations in the 80-km buffer zone (A) and bottom relief (B) along the Kola Section.


Distribution of stations in the 80-km buffer zone and bottom relief along the Medvezhinsky Section.
Figure 6 - Distribution of stations in the 80-km buffer zone (A) and bottom relief (B) along the Medvezhinsky Section.

КData from a number of stations located in the 40-km buffer zone from each side of every Section is used in calculations of climatic standards, patterns, and anomalies. The total number of such stations is 36 748 in the Kola Section and 19 257 in the Medvezhinsky Section.


Maps of the vertical distributions of the climatic standarts and anomalies of temperature and salinity are given in section Time series of water temperature and salinity


The Barents Sea and White Sea database covers the following parameters (Table 1):


Table 1 - List of indices included in the Barents Sea and White Sea database
ParameterUnits of measurementNumber of measurements
NameCodeNameCode
TemperatureTEMPDegree CelsiusС4 956 658
PressurePRESSDecibarDBAR2 163 027
ConductivityCoNDSiemens/mSIEMENS/M1 854 343
SalinitySALUnits of practical scale of salinityPSS4 207 207
Chlorine levelsCLPer millePPT28
Absolute content of dissolved oxygenoXYMl/l, mg/lML/L, MG/L120 320
рНPH--67 796
AlkalinityALKMilligram-equivalent/lMEQ/L34 721
NitratesNo3Micromole/lUMoL/L35 610
PhosphatesPo4Micromole/lUMoL/L70 334
SilicatesSIo4Micromole/lUMoL/L42 645
Chlorophyll-аCHL A mkg/lUG/L2 011