Read the new Book Publication - 2012: "Failures of Meteorology? Unable to Prevent Climate Change and World Wars?"


19 Feb.2015; read also Ron Clutz: Okhotsk, Barents, Who Cares?
Heraclitus (535 BC – 475 BC) famously said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”  The same can be said for anyone sailing in these seas:




Arctic sea ice record low - 02/25/2015
and human offshore activities not to blame – at least a bit?
posted 17. April 2015

by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

A.  Introduction: Barents and Okhotsk Sea in focus

According NSIDC, Arctic Sea ice extent shows a persistent decline. The latest value was the lowest on 25th February 2015; also March was the lowest in the satellite record, interrupted by late-season periods of ice growth, largely in the Bering Sea, Davis Strait (Fig. 1-4) (NSIDC), and an increase in the Sea of Okhotsk (Fig. 1, 3).





Fig.  1  - 25. February 2015

Fig. 2   - March 2015

Fig. 3    - 13. April 2015

Fig. 4   - 13. April 2015

NSIDC assumes that „ The ice extent recorded on February 25, 2015 was largely due to low extent in the unusually warm Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk” pointing to “….unusual pattern of atmospheric circulation, with the jet stream lying well north of its usual location over Eurasia and the North Pacific…” Again time to blame global warming, or “complex interconnections in the climate system”? (PIK) Reading the reasoning by some researches (below: D), little seems to be known about sea ice retreat and weather anomalies, although the observed “unusually warm Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk” (NSIDC) offer a good opportunity to investigate, whether human activities in these sea areas contribute a share. There are a lot of activities, from fishing, shipping, offshore exploration, affecting the sea surface and the water column, sometimes down to the sea floor below. Any possibility in this respect calls for more and thorough research. Further ignorance is a big blunder. Any pro or contra finding would largely enhance a better understanding of anthropogenic climate change and global warming.  

Warm and Cold areas in winter 2014/15

Sea of Okhotsk – map & current






Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8  -map-

Fig. 9   -current-

B: Barents and Okhotsk Sea

The Barents Sea exhibits a number of special properties that make it an interesting region for studying interactions between the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean (2013; Lars H. Smedsrud et al), the Barents Sea for western Europe, the Sea of Okhotsk plays a hugely important role in the northwestern Pacific (2012; Sen Tok Kim).

Both seas cover about the same area (1,5 Mio. km²),  the Sea of Okhotsk with an average depth of 859 m, and the Barents Sea only 230 m, differ grossly in many other aspects. While latter is a continental Shelf, with three islands (Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya) as boundaries and open to the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean, the Sea of Okhotsk is semi enclosed, with an internal current system (Fig. 8-9).   

Much closer connected to the oceanic system is the Barents Sea. Not only is the sea more than 10 degrees latitude closer to the North Pole (70° to 80°N), but has an inflow of huge warm and high saline water masses, some of which end up in the Arctic Sea. Vice versa enters cold water, with lower salinity the scene from the north. The interactions between the different water masses form a very complex and sensible current system. Any external forcing by wind and human activities is likely to have an impact. (Fig. 10-13)    

Barents Sea – Water inflow and Current





Fig.  10

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

 C: Barents and Okhotsk Sea anthropogenic warmed-up?

Human activities in the Barents and Okhotsk Sea are numerous. It includes fishing, shipping, offshore exploration, and naval activities. Actually inflowing water masses from the south may have already altered around Great Britain and along the Norwegian coast by ocean activities (Fig. 14-15). The multiple impacts continue in the high north (Fig. 16-17). Fishing boats with a length of 21 meters are the most active user at sea (Fig. 18), followed by commercial shipping (Fig. 19), offshore (20), research, surveillance, and naval ships and activities (Fig. 21).    





Fig. 14    Norwegian offshore

Fig. 15       Offshore installation

Fig. 16    Offshore fields

Fig. 17    Offshore installation

For example, one should know what happen if the Russian navy undertakes a “five-day Arctic drills involving 38,000 servicemen, more than 50 surface ships and submarines and 110 aircraft”, last month (AP, 16.March 2015), (Fig. 21) Whether similar maneuvers took place in the Okhotsk Sea is not known. But fishing is a big industry here also. Several giant petroleum fields have been located (total approximately three billion bbl of oil and 30 tcf of gas), and production offshore of Sakhalin Island has commenced (Offshore).

D. Summary

The recent new Arctic sea ice record gives little reason lamenting, but should be seen as an opportunity to investigate and understand the human activities in the Barents and Okhotsk Sea. It could be observed that both seas differed most from average due to warmer sea water temperature. Although it may be difficult to assess the impact of worldwide shipping and fishing on climatic changes and ‘global warming’, it is a much lower challenge if only the impact of two regional seas, representing only about 1% of the global water surface, is investigated. The observed altered condition in sea ice extent and water temperature are a great offer to the climate research community, spending otherwise billion on ‘this and that’, but have not yet understood and explained the early Arctic Warming (1919-1940), the global cooling (1940-1975), and the ‘persistent Arctic sea ice decline’ since satellites records exist. It is time to start immediately without further delay.    


Highly recommended RON CLUTZ  on sea ice 2015
18. April and two posts on 12. May 2015





Fig. 18  Fishing areas

Fig. 19   Traffic

Fig. 20   Offshore platform

Fig. 21   News report

 A few subject related essays


2014, Kazutoshi Sato et al (Environ. Res. Lett.),Abnormal sea-ice retreat over the Barents Sea during early winter has been considered a leading driver of recent midlatitude severe winters over Eurasia. However, causal relationships between such retreat and the atmospheric circulation anomalies remains uncertain.

2013; Lars H. Smedsrud et al; (Review of Geophysics), “The role of the Barents Sea in the Arctic clime system”. Resent global warming is amplifed in the Arctic and accompanied by unprecedented sea ice decline. Located along the main pathway of Atlantic Water entering the Arctic, the Barents Sea is the site of coupled feedback processes that are important for creating variability in the entire Arctic air-ice-ocean system.

2012; Sen Tok Kim; (ICES J. Mar. Sci ) “A review of the Sea of Okhotsk ecosystem response to the climate with special emphasis on fish populations.” The warming has resulted in melting of sea ice in the Arctic,…including the Sea of Okhotsk.

2012,  M. Årthun et al (J. Climate, 25, 4736–4743); „The recent Arctic winter sea ice retreat is most pronounced in the Barents Sea.”¸ “Recent sea ice loss is thus largely caused by an increasing “Atlantification” of the Barents Sea.”

2012, University of Bergen;A recent study by researchers in Norway shows that the northwest Barents Sea warmed substantially during the last decades. The temperature of the subsurface Atlantic Water in the northern Barents Sea increased rapidly during the late 1990s.”

2012; Norwegian Meteorological Institute , “Barents Sea warmer on the bottom”; “The reason is not completely known, but it may be due to currents from the Atlantic.”

2010, Vladimir Petoukhov (PIK), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research "The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air – which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents, …….Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far-away sea ice won't bother him could be wrong. There are complex interconnections in the climate system, and in the Barents-Kara Sea we might have discovered a powerful feedback mechanism,"

2007, Jennifer Francis et al,  GeoRL, “The hemispheric-mean decline in winter ice extent is due in large part to increasing sea-surface temperatures in the Barents Sea and adjoining waters,….”

2007; Motoyo Itoh (JoO), “Okhotsk Sea Intermediate Water (OSIW) rate of warming is much faster than that of the global ocean.




Further reading:

“Failures of Meteorology! Unable to Prevent Climate Change and World Wars? Oceans Make Climate!”

     Back to top→→→

  To Front Page

  Older Posts

14 December 2014:  How serious is Met-Office to understand  a “weather bomb” 

14. June 2013: Met Office brainstorms UK bad weather, titles THE GUARDIAN – 13. June 2013 (ocl-7-9)

23. April 2013: Met-Off loose talk on cold March 2013? North and Baltic Sea should not be ignored! (ocl_9-8)
11. April 2013: 'Urgent' need to see if Arctic affects UK extreme cold? No! MetOffice should investigate the impact of human activities in the North- and Baltic Sea ! (co_9-4) 
03 April 2013: Did the cold March 2013 came from Siberia ? A not well founded claim! (ocl_9-9) 
29 March 2013: Cold March 2013 in company with March 1942 & 1917 (co 10-2)  
27. March 2013: Strong Start – Strong Ending; Winter 2012/13. About the Role of North- and Baltic Sea (2007seatraining 1310)
26. March 2013; March 2013 snow in the UK and the North Sea . Did human activities contributed? (ocl 10_2) 
21 March 2013; Cold March 2013 in UK and North Europe science should be able to explain! (ocl_10-3) 
07 March 2013:  Winter 2012/13 for Northern Europe is over! The Baltic and North Sea will prevent a surprise in March! (ocl-10_4)
19. January 2013: Northern Europe's bulwark against Asian cold from 19-31. (oc_12-8)
14. January 2013: North- and Baltic Sea influence Europe ’s winter 2012/2013 until now. (ocl_12_6) 
09 December 2012 (+ 21 & 26 Dec) : Are we heading to severe Baltic Sea ice conditions by 30th December 2012? (2007seatraining)


 Essays on arctic warming causes cold winters 

2013__Environmental Research Letters Volume 8 Number 1 Qiuhong Tang et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 014036 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014036 
Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss 
___”The results suggest that the winter atmospheric circulation at high northern latitudes associated with Arctic sea ice loss, especially in the winter, favours the occurrence of cold winter extremes at middle latitudes of the northern continents.”


 Back to Front Page





September 1939 
30 daily weather maps 

Sea Ice Condition 
Baltic Sea WWII



Book extract:

C2.  Records, Records, Records – Introduction
to the unexpected