Comparative analysis of Water Mass Distribution and Circulation in semi-enclosed seas


  • Institute of Marine Studies, University of Plymouth, UK


  • Dr Anatoli Pantiulin (Moscow State University, Russia)
  • Dr Kevin Horsburgh (School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK)
  • Professor Alexei Nekrasov (Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Saint Petersburg, Russia)


The aim of the project is to get a better knowledge of the mesoscale water mass structure of the White Sea. Specific objectives are to study fine thermohaline structure, mixing of water masses and tidal stirring in the Northern part of the White Sea. The project will contrast and compare hydrology of two semi-enclosed seas: the White Sea and the Irish Sea.

Summary of results

Fine thermohaline features and water mass formation were studied in summer 2000 and spring 2001 in the northern part of the White Sea. The data analysis for temperature, salinity and density revealed distinct signatures of step-like structures in the profiles, and indicated the characteristics of water masses. Five quasi-homogeneous layers and temperature inversions were identified with the average T/S indexes of (26psu;5°C), (27psu;2°C), (27.5psu;0.5° C), (28.2psu;-0.7°C), and (28.6psu;-1°C) for the summer period with either identical or rather small variation in thermohaline indexes within the layers.   Quasi-homogeneous layers with a horizontal scale of 400km were identified in the northern White Sea from the Gorlo strait to the Kandalaksha bay. A possible cause is the strong vertical mixing due to the presence of a shallow 40m sill and strong tidal current.


Lukashin, V.N., Kosobokova, K.N., Shevchenko, V.P., Shapiro, G.I. Pantulin, A.N., Pertzova, N.M., Savenko, A.V., Deev, M.G., Kljuvitkin, A.A., Novigatsky, A.N., Prego, R. and Latché, L. 2002. Results of multi-disciplinary oceanographic observations in the White Sea, June 2000. Oceanology, 43, No2, 237-253 (pdf)

Latche, L., Shapiro, G.I. and Pantiulin, A. N.,2002.  "Thermohaline intrusion in the White Sea in June 2000"  XXVII General Assembly of the EGS Conference in Nice, France, 2002. (Abstract).

Shapiro, G.I., Latche, L. and Pantiulin, A.N. 2003. Mixing processes in the Gorlo Strait of the White Sea . Oceanology, Vol. 43, Suppl. 1, 2003, pp. S26-S31. (pdf)

Shapiro, G.I., Latche, L. and Pantiulin, A.N. Mixing processes in the Gorlo strait of the White Sea, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 5, 14781, 2003presented at EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly, Nice, France, 06-11 April 2003.