International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
CRR225.pdf (12.29 MB)

North Atlantic-Norwegian Sea Exchange: The ICES NANSEN Project

Download (12.29 MB)
Version 2 2023-07-04, 12:04
Version 1 2022-01-25, 12:18
posted on 2023-07-04, 12:04 authored by B. Hansen, S. Østerhus

The ICES NANSEN (North Atlantic - Norwegian Sea Exchanges) project was initiated by Council Resolution 1985/4:9 to study the exchanges of water, heat, and other properties across the Greenland-Scotland Ridge between the Atlantic Ocean and the areas northeast of the ridge. Across this ridge, warm, saline water makes its way northeastward in the upper layers while cold, fresher water returns south-westward partly in the upper layers along the Greenland coast and partly as deep overflows at several locations across the ridge. These exchanges are of major importance for the global thermohaline circulation as well as for the regional climate of the Nordic Seas and the Arctic with their surrounding landmasses. ICES has long recognised the importance of these flows by mounting the Overflow '60 and Overflow '73 experiments which focused mainly on the cold, deep overflows. The NANSEN Project was initiated to study in more detail the Atlantic water flow north-eastward over the ridge as well as the return flows, with most emphasis on the eastern part of the area. 

The field work within NANSEN started in 1986 and continued with cruises every year, operated by a number of ICES member countries as co-ordinated by the ICES Working Group on Oceanic Hydrography until the field phase was declared finished by the end of 1990. Hydrographic data from the project are stored at the ICES Oceanographical Data Centre while the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) has stored the current meter data.

Results from the project have been published in various journals. This Cooperative Research Report is a collection of papers that originally were presented at ICES Statutory Meetings, especially at the NANSEN session of the Hydrography Committee during the 1991 meeting in La Rochelle, France. In addition, the first paper in the volume is an attempt to summarise our present understanding of the problems addressed by the NANSEN project based on results from the project as well as from other studies, old and new.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Cooperative Research Reports (CRR)







Recommended citation

Hansen, B., and Østerhus, S. (Eds.). 1998. North Atlantic-Norwegian Sea Exchange: The ICES NANSEN Project . ICES Cooperative Research Report, Vol. 225. 250 pp.