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Coast and Fjords

The coast and fjords are different from south to north in Norway. The variation goes from narrow fjords in the south to the wide fjords and ocean bays off the coast of Finnmark where the ocean reaches the inner shore. In addition to the topographic variations are also large variations in currents and climatic conditions along the coast.

The shortest distance between the southernmost and northernmost point along the Norwegian coast is the same as the distance from southern Norway to Rome. The total length of the coastline along the mainland including all fjords is about 24,000 km or about half the distance around the equator. When including all islands the total coastline is almost 60.000 km.

A barrier of small and large islands protects the coast and fjord areas against wind and waves from the open ocean. Deep large fjords cut in from the coastline and typically have a sill nearby the ocean and a deep pool inside of the sill. The longest fjord in Norway is Sognefjorden and is about 200 km long and maximum depth of about 1300 m. The deepest fjords elsewhere in Norway are about 700 m deep, while the majority of the fjords is 300-500 m deep. Some of the major fjords in Troms and Finnmark does not have sills (such as Porsangerfjord) and can therefore regarded more as bays.

Fixed hydrographic stations

Measurements of temperature and salinity at 8 fixed hydrographic stations distributed along the Norwegian coast. The observations are taken 1-2 times per month.