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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sea ice strands around 1000 vessels in China


It is winter in Chennai ~ mornings are chill, people say so !  In Chennai, people don’t wear woolen sweaters or shawls nor use mufflers [used to see them  a couple of decades ago] ~ the ear caps that have flooded the market sell………..  the lowest of the month at Chennai is recorded to be :  20.8°C (5/1/13).  Cold wave and harsh weather conditions continued to throw life out of gear in North India with the minimum temperature dipping to 2.4 degrees Celsius in the national capital on Monday.  The minimum temperature in Delhi improved partially from Sunday’s 1.9 degrees to 2.4;  it still remains five degrees below normal. Making the mater worse, icy-winds forced people to stay inside their homes in Delhi.

Elsewhere is the Laizhou Bay, the southern arm of the Bohai Sea which is a large relatively shallow extension of Korea Bay (Northern Yellow Sea). The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean.  Sea ice is simply frozen ocean water. It forms, grows, and melts in the ocean. Sea ice occurs in both the Arctic and Antarctic. On average, sea ice covers about 25 million square kilometers (9,652,553 square miles) of the earth, or about two-and-a-half times the area of Canada. Because most of us do not live in the polar regions, we may live for several decades and never see sea ice.  Sea ice grows during the winter months and melts during the summer months, but some sea ice remains all year in certain regions. About 15 percent of the world's oceans are covered by sea ice during part of the year.

Chinese media reports of  heavy ice conditions in Laizhou Bay, Bohai sea, East China sea. Some 1,000 vessels reportedly are stuck in ice field of some 300 sq kilometers. Mostly those trapped are fishing vessels,  but there are some bigger vessel as well. China Meteorological Administration on Friday said the national average was -3.8 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) since late November, the coldest in nearly three decades.  In some areas — northeastern China, eastern Inner Mongolia, and north part of far-western Xinjiang province — the low has hit -40 degrees C (-40 degrees F), the administration said.  In southwest China’s Sichuan province, more than 1,000 tourists were stranded Wednesday in a scenic mountainous area because of icy road, the state-run Beijing News reported.  At some other places, snowstorm have disrupted air and road traffic.

Thaw :  - to change from a frozen solid to a liquid state by gradual warming ; to lose stiffness, numbness by being warmed; to become warm enough for snow and ice to melt.   There is the  Northern Sea Route,  a shipping lane officially defined by Russian legislation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea ~ the entire route lies in Arctic waters and parts are free of ice for only two months per year. 

At Laizhou bay, cold snap has created a layer of thick sea ice expanding to 291 square km with apprehensions that it is continuing to grow; it is stated that the  ice this year is the worst the area has experienced in three years. This brutal cold snap has trapped around 1000 ships, stranded and unable to move in the frozen ocean.  The most unusual chill weather experienced with temperatures plunging to their lowest in almost 3 decades have caused this.  There were some reports of dramatic rescue of young deer stranded on frozen reservoir was in vain as it had to be humanely euthanized due to severe injuries.  On the sky, over 140 flights from the state capital airport in central Hunan province were delayed, while heavy snowfall forced the closure of some sections of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, the China Daily said.

There is the sea ice and then we have heard of icebergs -  most basic difference is that sea ice forms from salty ocean water, whereas icebergs, glaciers, and lake ice form from fresh water or snow. With weather – hot, hotter and hottest in Chennai, such news are really new to us.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Jan 2013.

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