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The East Siberian Sea

The East Siberian Sea is located between the New Siberian Islands to the west and the Wrangel Island in the east. The extremely shallow shelf-sea extends far north into the Arctic Ocean.


The hydrographic conditions of the near coastal region are dominated by the continental run-off of the Kolyma and Indigirka Rivers as well as by water masses from the westerly adjacent Laptev Sea. To the east, the East Siberian Sea is connected to the Chukchi Sea while to the north the shelf-sea is wide open towards the central Arctic.


During winter, a band of fast ice extends along the coast of the East Siberian Sea. New slush ice is permanently formed in recurrent open water channels (flaw leads) between fast ice and drifting ice. However, ice formation rates in the East Siberian Sea are much lower as compared to those of the adjacent Laptev Sea. During winter, even huge amounts of pack ice from the eastward located Beaufort Sea are pressed into the East Siberian Sea, while ice export from this shelf sea does not start before summer.


The climate of the East Siberian Sea is dominated by continental air masses from the Siberian mainland and by Polar influences from the north. During winter, the weather is mainly characterized by cold and dry offshore winds from various directions. In summer, prevailing northerly winds weaken the generally warm continental influence.