Bear Island

The seas around Bear Island don’t freeze, even though we are so close to the Arctic.

This is because we are in the warmer, northwards flowing waters where the Norwegian current becomes the West Spitsbergen current. This flows around the south of Bear Island and Svalbard, into the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait, so counterbalancing the cold southwards flowing waters of the East Greenland Current.

This warm water originates as the Gulf Stream, and is responsible for keeping the British Isles temperate, despite the northerly latitude.

But for how much longer?

There is fear that the Gulf Stream could shut down, as the increased runoff from the melting icecaps disrupts the deep water formation, changing the circulation system.

If this should happen Bear Island will become ice bound, and further south Britain will find it has a much colder climate. One of the ironies of Global Warming.

1 Comment

  1. We are used to images of polar bears suffering as the ice melts faster and faster, but I wonder, does this possible change in the Gulf Stream mean that other areas in the arctic will open up for the wildlife?

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