Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)
The Baltic Sea1 is a unique basin of the World Ocean. It is small and shallow, rather a series of basins, and connected to the main Atlantic Ocean only via the Danish Straits (Figure 1.1). The exchange of water through these straits is quite limited, and as a consequence of the positive freshwater balance the Baltic Sea water mass is brackish, with the mean salinity about 7‰—one-fifth of the salinity of normal ocean waters. This elongated sea lies between maritime temperate and continental sub-Arctic climate zones. In winter it is partly ice-covered and during the most severe winters it is completely frozen over. The variable coastal geomorphology and the wide archipelago areas give the Baltic Sea its individual appearance.
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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2009