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Marine Places

Greenland Sea

The Greenland Sea, which stretches between Greenland, Svarlbad, and Jan Mayen Island, is a major area of sea-ice formation in the Arctic Ocean. The East Greenland Current carries surface water and ice south along the coast of Greenland, but the Jan Mayen Current takes some surface water to the east. This divergence leaves an area of open water where new sea ice is continually formed in the winter. An ice tongue, known as the Odden, develops eastward from the main ice edge, and dissolved salt is left behind in a layer of cold, briny water beneath the new ice. Being more dense, this very salty water sinks to the seafloor, where it pools before spilling over the ridges between Greenland and Jan Mayen to the south. This downwelling plays a major role in the global thermohaline <xref destinationid="OCEAN060UNDCIR">circulation</xref> of the oceans.

Greenland Seazoom image
  • Area 463,000 square miles (1.2 million square km)
  • Maximum Depth 16,000 ft (4,800 m)
  • Inflows Arctic Basin, Norwegian Sea
Barents Sea - Greenland Seazoom image