Polar Seas Oceanography: An Integrated Case Study of the Kara Sea



What strikes first when browsing through this book is that the main title is misleading. Polar Seas Oceanography is, first of all, a book on “an integrated case study of the Kara Sea,” as the subtitle says. For readers who are interested more generally in polar oceanography, the book is probably the wrong choice.

The Kara Sea is a rather shallow shelf sea within the Arctic Ocean, located between the Barents Sea to the west and the Laptev Sea to the east. The importance of the Kara Sea is manifold: climate change issues like ice formation and freshwater runoff, environmental problems from dumping of radioactive waste or oil exploitation, and finally, the Northern Sea route, which crosses large parts of the Kara Sea, underline the economical and ecological relevance of that region. In spite of severe climate conditions, the Kara Sea is relatively well investigated. This was achieved through intense oceanographic expeditions, aircraft surveys, and polar drift stations. Russian scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) carried out a major part of this outstanding work during the second half of the last century.