An isopycnic coordinate ocean model has been used to investigate the importance of different mechanisms on the Barents Sea climate variability for the period 1948–2006 Observed and simulated time series from the Kola Section are used to evaluate the model, and the model captures both the temperature and its variability. Based on lagged correlations between different climatological time series, it is shown here that heat transport through the Barents Sea Opening and solar heat flux are about equally important to the climate variability in the Barents Sea. The heat transport has greater potential of predictability due to a relatively long time lag. Furthermore, the non-solar and the net heat flux variability is governed by fluctuations in the oceanic heat content. All time series considered important for the Barents Sea climate variability show significant correlation to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) pattern on a decadal time scale. As the associated low pressure system in the Nordic Seas moves eastward from 1948–1977 to 1978–2006, the correlation between NAO and heat transports into the Barents Sea becomes higher.