Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Abashiri Drift Ice (流氷, Ryūhyō)

Every winter, the Sea of Okhotsk is painted white because of the drift ice.  Hokkaido is the southernmost region in the northern hemisphere to experience this phenomenon. It's a testament to the coldness of the Siberian winters that the ocean essentially freezes over, and partially due to the freshwater that flows from the Russian and Chinese rivers into the ocean that lowers the salt water content enough to allow a layer of water to freeze.  

Here are a few pictures from the drift ice cruise my friends and I took this year in Abashiri.  The drift ice is totally hit or miss, and with the average temperatures rising global the seasons have become a bit shorter and more unpredictable.  However, this year the ice was fantastic and much more extensive than I remember from last year.  


It was very cold. 

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