Atlantic Water flows into the Arctic in three branches near Svalbard.
One branch – warm, fast and often found all the way up to the surface – flows around the north-west corner of Svalbard and then continues along the upper part of the continental slope north of Svalbard.
A second branch crosses the central part of the Yermak Plateau and joins the first branch further east. This second branch appears to be highly seasonal, and carries the largest heat and volume in autumn and winter.
A third, smaller branch, follows the outer perimeter of the Yermak Plateau and then turns eastward, flowing as a wide, slow and semi-deep current along the outer, deep part of the continental slope.
Together, this large current system carries an enormous amount of heat and salt into the region – of similar magnitude as the Barents Sea Branch but with higher temperature when it enters the Arctic Ocean proper. It also brings a continuous supply of nutrients for primary production (phytoplankton growth) and transports living organisms of lower-latitude Atlantic origin into the area.