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Posts tagged Kara Sea

Climate Change in the Barents Sea – June 21st, 2013

70.2N 50.8E

June 21st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Russia – June 21st, 2013

Visible on the right side of this image is the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, part of Russia, between the Barents and Kara Seas. Recent data over the last decade show an Arctic wide temperature increase consistent with model projections of global warming rather than showing regional warming patterns which would have been caused by natural variability as occurred in previous Arctic warming episodes such as the 1930s.

While a major surprise was the nearly 40% loss of September sea ice extent in 2007, the major change is that in every year since then sea ice has been below 30% and that much old, thick sea ice has disappeared. Extensive forest fires are another major Arctic change. These shifts seem to be rapid and occurring 20-30 years earlier than expected by steady processes in climate forecast models.

The Arctic is normally dominated a very stable “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds surrounding the North Pole which traps the cold Arctic air mass at high latitudes. However, during early winter of 2009-2010 the Polar Vortex weakened due to higher geopotential heights over the Arctic, allowing cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward, a warm Arctic –cold continent climate pattern. One
indicator of a weak Polar Vortex is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index which in December 2009 through February 2010 had its most negative value (weak vortex) in 145 years of record.

Meteorological attribution to these sub-Arctic events is difficult. Certainly random chaos in the development of weather patterns can produce such extreme events. There is a potential impact, however, from Arctic regions where heat stored in the ocean in sea-ice-free and thin ice areas has been released to the lower atmosphere during autumn. One would not expect a sub-Arctic impact in every year or the in the same locations every year. The Barents Sea seems to be part of the Arctic wide warming pattern, while northern Europe is in the subArctic high climate variability zone (click here for more information).

Baydaratskaya Bay and Sediments in Gulf of Ob, Russia

68.8N 73.5E

July 24th, 2011 Category: Rivers, Sediments

Russia - July 14th, 2011

Visible in the upper left quadrant of this image of Russia is Baydaratskaya Bay, a gulf located in the southern part of the Kara Sea between the coastline of the Northern termination of the Ural Mountains (Polar Ural) and Yamal Peninsula.

Visible to the east of the bay is the Gulf of Ob, mostly colored brown by sediments, an immense bay of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Russia, at the head of which is the mouth of the Ob River. It is about 1,000 km (600 mi) long and varies from about 50 km (30 mi) to 80 km (50 mi) in width, running generally north and south.  The Taz Estuary is an eastern side-branch formed by the Taz River.

 

Sediments Around Yamal Peninsula, Russia

73.2N 70.8E

August 31st, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Russia - July 27th, 2009

Russia - July 27th, 2009

Dark brown sediments fill the coastal waters of Russia’s Yamal Peninsula on two sides, in the Gulf of Ob (right) and the 8 to 10 km wide Malygina Strait (center). Also visible at the upper right is Shokalsky Island, just off the northern tip of the narrow Gydan Peninsula.

The Yamal Peninsula, located in Yamal-Nenets autonomous district of northwest Siberia, extends roughly 700 km (435 mi) into the Kara Sea. The peninsula consists mostly of permafrost ground.

Moving from the peninsula across the strait, one comes to Bely Island, an island in the Kara Sea that covers an area of 1,810 square kilometres (700 sq mi). It is covered by tundra, but some dwarf shrubs also grow there.

Sediments in Gulf of Ob and Khalmyer Bay, Russia – August 13th, 2009

72.3N 75.2E

August 13th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Russia - July 27th, 2009

Russia - July 27th, 2009

The long, narrow Gydan Peninsula in Russian Siberia separates the Gulf of Ob (left) from the Khalmyer Bay (right). Both bodies of water are loaded with sediments, although the former is dark brown in color while the latter appears yellow and green.

The Gulf of Ob is an immense bay of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Russia, at the head of which is the mouth of the Ob River. This Gulf flows into the Kara Sea between the Yamal Peninsula (lower left quadrant) and the Gydan Peninsula.

The Gulf is about 1,000 km (600 mi) long and varies from about 50 km (30 mi) to 80 km (50 mi) in width, running generally north and south. It is relatively shallow, with an average depth from ten to twelve metres which restricts heavy sea transport.

Khalmyer Bay, on the other hand, is roughly 185 km long and 47 km wide at its widest point. This deep bay lies in the Kara Sea between the estuaries of the Ob and the Yenisei River. Khalmyer Bay is surrounded by tundra coast and there are numerous river mouths on its shores.

Former Novaya Zemlya Nuclear Test Site, Russia – May 17th, 2009

73.6N 56.0E

May 17th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Russia - May 13th, 2009

Russia - May 13th, 2009

Russia’s Novaya Zemlya  archipelago lies in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe at Cape Zhelaniya. Due to its geographical location, it has a very severe climate.

It consists of two major islands, separated by the narrow Matochkin Strait, and a number of smaller ones. The two main islands are Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern). Novaya Zemlya separates the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea. The archipelago’s total area is about 90,650 km².

As Novaya Zemlya was a sensitive military area during the Cold War years, the Soviet Air Force maintained a presence at Rogachevo air base on the southern part of the island. It was used primarily for interceptor aircraft operations but also provided logistical support for the nearby nuclear test area.

In July 1954, the archipelago was designated the Novaya Zemlya Test Site, which existed during much of the Cold War. Tests occurred throughout the islands, with an official testing range covering over half of the landmass.

Over its entire history as a nuclear test site, Novaya Zemlya hosted 224 nuclear detonations with a total explosive energy equivalent to 265 megatons of TNT. For comparison, all explosives used in World War II, including the detonations of two U.S. nuclear bombs, amounted to only two megatons.

In 1961 the northern island was the explosion site of Tsar Bomba, a record 50-megaton blast conducted in the atmosphere. In 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty outlawing most atmospheric nuclear tests was implemented.

However, underground testing continued, with the largest underground test at Novaya Zemlya taking place on September 12, 1973. This test involved four nuclear devices of 4.2 megatons total yield. Although far smaller in blast power than the Tsar Bomba and other atmospheric tests, the confinement of the blasts underground led to pressures rivaling natural earthquakes. In the case of the September 12, 1973, test, a seismic magnitude of 6.97 on the Richter Scale was reached, setting off an 80 million ton avalanche that blocked two glacial streams and created a lake 2 km in length.

In 1988–1989, glasnost helped make the Novaya Zemlya testing activities public knowledge, and in 1990 Greenpeace activists staged a protest at the site. The last nuclear test explosion was in 1990 (also the last for the entire Soviet Union and Russia).

However, the Ministry for Atomic Energy has performed a series of subcritical underwater nuclear experiments near Matochkin Shar each autumn since 1998. These tests reportedly involve up to 100 g of weapons-grade plutonium.

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