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August 6, 2016

Around the North Sea

BY: Cecilie Petersen



Due to the ever shifting and unpredictable North Sea weather, we are stuck at harbor, in beautiful Stavanger.

The North Sea has, at all times, been fearful. But it is an important food source and transportation route for the countries that surround it. The North Sea covers around 575.000 square kilometers and is a relatively shallow sea, with an average depth of 95m, with 15-30m in the southern banks, and down to 700m at the deepest points of the Norwegian Trench. The Sea meets land in seven countries; in the north it borders the North Atlantic, and Norway, in the west it meets Great Britain, in the east, Denmark and Germany, and in the south the Netherlands and ends in the English Channel bordered by Belgium and France.

The North Sea opened up 350 million years ago, but has existed in almost its present form since the last ice age 10.000 years ago. During the Weichsel ice age, the Dogger Bank was dry land, and inhabited by humans, and only 8.000 years ago the English Channel opened up, and the Waddensea was created. The area is dynamic, and the water level rises 33cm in average per 100 years. Due to the inflow of water from the Atlantic in the north, and the run off from rivers in the south, the salt levels is different in north and the south part, with 32-35 psu (Practical Salinity Unit) in the north and to 15-25 psu in the southern part. In the winter the surface temperature is between 3 and 7°C, and in the summer 11-17°C, in the deep areas the bottom temperature is stabile all year around, between 7-8°C.