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North Sea

Ocean NameNorth Sea
Image OceanNASA NorthSea1 2.jpg
LocationAtlantic Ocean
InflowForth, Ythan, Elbe, Weser, Ems, Rhine/Waal, Meuse, Scheldt, Spey, Tay, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Wear, Crouch
Basin CountriesNorway, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland)
Length Km960
Width Km580
Area Km2750000
Depth M95
Max-depth M700
Volume Km394000
Temperature High C17
Temperature Low C6
Salinity3.4 to 3.5%
ReferenceSea and Sciences

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The North Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between Great Britain, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. An epeiric (or "shelf") sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north. It is more than 970 km (602.7 mi) long and 580 km (360.4 mi) wide, with an area of around 750000 km2 (289576.6 sqmi).

The North Sea has long been the site of important European shipping lanes as well as a major fishery. The sea is a popular destination for recreation and tourism in bordering countries and more recently has developed into a rich source of energy resources including fossil fuels, wind, and early efforts in wave power.

Historically, the North Sea has featured prominently in geopolitical and military affairs, particularly in Northern Europe but also globally through the power northern European actors projected worldwide during much of the Middle Ages and modern era. The North Sea was center of the Vikings' rise and subsequently, the Hanseatic League, the Netherlands, and the British each sought to dominate the North Sea and through it to control access the markets and resources of the world. As Germany's only outlet to the ocean, the North Sea continued to be strategically important through both World Wars.

The coast of the North Sea presents a diversity of geological and geographical features. In the north, deep fjords and sheer cliffs mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines, whereas the south consist primarily of sandy beaches and wide mudflats. Due to the dense population, heavy industrialization, and intense use of the sea and area surrounding it, there have been a number of environmental issues affecting the sea's ecosystems. Environmental concerns-commonly including overfishing, industrial and agricultural runoff, dredging, and dumping among others-have led to a number of efforts to prevent degradation of the sea while still making use of its economic potential.

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