Drift ice

Drift ice, also called brash ice, is any sea ice other than fast ice, the latter being attached ("fastened") to the shoreline or other fixed objects (shoals, grounded icebergs, etc.).[1][2][3] Drift ice is carried along by winds and sea currents, hence its name. When drift ice is driven together into a large single mass (>70% coverage), it is called pack ice.[1] Wind and currents can pile up that ice to form ridges up to several metres in height. These represent a challenge for icebreakers and offshore structures operating in cold oceans and seas.

Drift ice consists of ice floes, individual pieces of sea ice 20 metres (66 ft) or more across. Floes are classified according to size: small – 20 metres (66 ft) to 100 metres (330 ft); medium – 100 metres (330 ft) to 500 metres (1,600 ft); big – 500 metres (1,600 ft) to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft); vast – 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi); and giant – more than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi).[4][5]

Drift ice affects:

Drift ice can exert tremendous forces when rammed against structures, and can shear off rudders and propellers from ships and strong structures anchored to the shore, such as piers. These structures must be retractable or removable to avoid damage. Similarly, ships can get stuck between drift ice floes.

The two major ice packs are the Arctic ice pack and the Antarctic ice pack. The most important areas of pack ice are the polar ice packs formed from seawater in the Earth's polar regions: the Arctic ice pack of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean. Polar packs significantly change their size during seasonal changes of the year. Because of vast amounts of water added to or removed from the oceans and atmosphere, the behavior of polar ice packs has a significant impact on global changes in climate.

Kontio towing

The Icebreaker Kontio, which has become stuck in drift ice while towing a cargo ship in pack ice in the northern Baltic sea


Ice floes / pack ice


Satellite image of drift ice in the Arctic Ocean around Wrangel Island

Seasonal ice drift in the Sea of Okhotsk by the northern coast of Hokkaidō, Japan has become a tourist attraction of this area with harsh climate,[6] and is one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan. The Sea of Okhotsk is the southernmost area in the Northern hemisphere where drift ice may be observed.[7]

Greenland East Coast 7
Drift ice, Greenland
Sea ice Drawing General features
Fast ice (left, along shoreline) versus drift ice (right) in a hypothetical sea ice dynamics scenario.

See also


  1. ^ a b WMO Sea-Ice Nomenclature
  2. ^ Weeks, Willy F. (2010). On Sea Ice. University of Alaska Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-60223-101-6.
  3. ^ Leppäranta, M. 2011. The Drift of Sea Ice. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  4. ^ NSIDC All About Sea Ice
  5. ^ Environment Canada Ice Glossary
  6. ^ "A Port's Ice Is Thinning, and So Is Its Tourist Trade", The New York Times, March 14, 2006.
  7. ^ "Honda, Meiji, Koji Yamazaki, Hisashi Nakamura, Kensuke Takeuchi, 1999: Dynamic and Thermodynamic Characteristics of Atmospheric Response to Anomalous Sea-Ice Extent in the Sea of Okhotsk. J. Climate, '''12''', 3347–3358". Journals.ametsoc.org. Retrieved 2018-04-10.

External links


Abashiri (網走市, Abashiri-shi) is a city located in Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan.

Abashiri is known as the site of the Abashiri Prison, a Meiji-era facility used for the incarceration of political prisoners. The old prison has been turned into a museum, but the city's new maximum-security prison is still in use.

As of 2008, the city has an estimated population of 40,333 and a density of 85.6 persons per km² (222 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 470.94 km2 (181.83 sq mi).

Bond event

Bond events are North Atlantic ice rafting events that are tentatively linked to climate fluctuations in the Holocene. Eight such events have been identified. Bond events were previously believed to exhibit a quasi c. 1,500-year cycle, but the primary period of variability is now put at c. 1,000 years.Gerard C. Bond of the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University was the lead author of the 1997 paper that postulated the theory of 1470-year climate cycles in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, mainly based on petrologic tracers of drift ice in the North Atlantic. However, more recent work has shown that these tracers provide little support for 1,500-year intervals of climate change, and the reported c. 1,500 ± 500-year period was a statistical artifact. Furthermore, following publication of the Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005 (GICC05) for the North GRIP ice core, it became clear that Dansgaard–Oeschger events also show no such pattern. The North Atlantic ice-rafting events happen to correlate with episodes of lowered lake levels in the Mid-Atlantic region, USA, the weakest events of the Asian monsoon for at least the past 9,000 years, and also correlate with most aridification events in the Middle East for the past 55,000 years (both Heinrich and Bond events).For reasons that are unclear, the only Holocene Bond event that has a clear temperature signal in the Greenland ice cores is the 8.2 kiloyear event.


Brash may refer to:

Brash (surname), including a list of people with the name

Brash, a term applied to some accumulations of fragments:

the loose rubble found in the lowest layer of the soil

an accumulation of drift ice fragments

Water brash, hypersalivation secondary to gastroesophageal reflux disease

Brash Entertainment, a video game company

Thomas Brash Morison (1868-1945), Scottish politician and judge

Olof the Brash

Sekolah Menengah Teknik Ipoh Persiaran Brash

Drifting ice station

Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations are research stations built on the ice of the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean. They are important contributors to exploration of the Arctic. The stations are named North Pole (NP; Russian: Северный полюс, translit. Severny polyus, СП), followed by an ordinal number: North Pole-1, etc.

Ernst Krenkel Observatory

Ernst Krenkel Observatory (Russian: Обсерватория имени Эрнста Кренкеля), also known as Kheysa, was a former Soviet rocket launching site located on Heiss Island, Franz Josef Land. It is named after a famous Arctic explorer Ernst Krenkel, a member of the crew of the North Pole-1 drift ice station and other notable Soviet polar expeditions.

It served the MR-12 from 1956 to 1980 for the start of elevator research rocketry.

Floating ice

Floating ice may refer to:

Drift ice, floating sea ice

Floating Ice, a 2012 album by Michael Bisio

Foxe Basin

Foxe Basin is a shallow oceanic basin north of Hudson Bay, in Nunavut, Canada, located between Baffin Island and the Melville Peninsula. For most of the year, it is blocked by sea ice (fast ice) and drift ice made up of multiple ice floes.

The nutrient-rich cold waters found in the basin are known to be especially favourable to phytoplankton and the numerous islands within it are important bird habitats, including Sabine's gulls and many types of shorebirds. bowhead whales migrate to the northern part of the basin each summer.

The basin takes its name from the English explorer Luke Foxe who entered the lower part in 1631.

Ice Age (franchise)

Ice Age is an American media franchise centering on a group of mammals surviving the Paleolithic ice age. It is produced by Blue Sky Studios, a division of 20th Century Fox, and featuring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Chris Wedge. Five films have been released in the series thus far with Ice Age in 2002, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012, and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016. It has received some criticism for making no attempt to be scientifically accurate. As of April 2016, the franchise had generated $6 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

Ice Station Zebra (novel)

Ice Station Zebra is a 1963 thriller novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It marked a return to MacLean's classic Arctic setting. After completing this novel, whose plot line parallels real-life events during the Cold War, MacLean retired from writing for three years. In 1968 it was loosely adapted into a film of the same name.

Ice floe

An ice floe or ice float is a large pack of floating ice often defined as a flat piece at least 20 m across at its widest point, and up to more than 10 km across. Drift ice is a floating field of sea ice composed of several ice floes. They may cause ice jams on freshwater rivers, and in the open ocean may damage the hulls of ships.

Lead (sea ice)

A lead () is a large fracture within an expanse of sea ice, defining a linear area of open water that can be used for navigation purposes. Leads vary in width from meters to hundreds of meters. As is the case for polynyas (another sea ice feature involving open water), leads allow the direct interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean, and are important for Arctic sea ice ecology. Additionally it has been lately found that ice leads contribute significantly to the amount of mercury deposited onto surface and leaked into the ocean. If the air is cold enough (typically in the winter), the water within a lead quickly refreezes, such that in many cases, leads are partly or entirely covered by a thin layer of new ice.

Mikhail Somov

Mikhail Mikhailovich Somov (Russian: Михаил Михайлович Сомов) (7 April 1908, in Moscow – 30 December 1973, in Leningrad) was a Soviet oceanologist, polar explorer, Doctor of Geographical Sciences (1954).

Mikhail Somov graduated from the Moscow Hydrometeorological Institute in 1937. In 1939, he was appointed senior researcher at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. In 1950-1951, Mikhail Somov headed a drift-ice station North Pole-2. In 1955-1957, he became the commander of the first Soviet Antarctic Expedition. Mikhail Somov was also the first Soviet delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.The Somov Sea north of Victoria Land and a glacier in Queen Maud Land (both East Antarctica) bear Mikhail Somov's name, as well as a scientific icebreaker. A minor planet 3334 Somov discovered by Czech astronomer Antonín Mrkos in 1981 is named after him. Somov was a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Monbetsu, Hokkaido

Monbetsu (紋別市, Monbetsu-shi) is a city located in Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan; on the Sea of Okhotsk. The name comes from Ainu Mopet (Quiet River), Ainu "-pet" would be interpreted "-betsu" in Japanese as well of other city names in Hokkaido.

As of September 30, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 22,983 and a population density of 27.67 persons per km². The total area is 830.70 km2 (320.74 sq mi).

Most of Monbetsu's economy is dedicated to fishing for cold-water species such as crab. The crab from Monbetsu is reputably the best in Japan, and is such a source of town pride that a sculpture of a crab claw nearly 10 m tall was built on the waterfront.

Sea ice

Sea ice arises as seawater freezes. Because ice is less dense than water, it floats on the ocean's surface (as does fresh water ice, which has an even lower density). Sea ice covers about 7% of the Earth's surface and about 12% of the world's oceans. Much of the world's sea ice is enclosed within the polar ice packs in the Earth's polar regions: the Arctic ice pack of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean. Polar packs undergo a significant yearly cycling in surface extent, a natural process upon which depends the Arctic ecology, including the ocean's ecosystems. Due to the action of winds, currents and temperature fluctuations, sea ice is very dynamic, leading to a wide variety of ice types and features. Sea ice may be contrasted with icebergs, which are chunks of ice shelves or glaciers that calve into the ocean. Depending on location, sea ice expanses may also incorporate icebergs.


Straumporten (English: Stream Gate) is a 1340 m wide sound between the southernmost part, Migmatittodden of Phippsøya and northeast side, Gullberget of Parryøya, in Sjuøyane north of Nordaustlandet in Svalbard, Norway.

The sound was named because drift ice often passes through the sound with the tidal streams.

Tanner Foust

Tanner Foust (born June 13, 1973) is a professional racing driver, stunt driver, and television host. He competes in rally, drift, ice racing, time attack and rallycross with multiple podium placements, national championships, and world records. He was a co-host of the American version of the motoring television series, Top Gear.

The Red Tent (film)

The Red Tent (Russian: Красная палатка, translit. Krasnaya palatka; Italian: La tenda rossa; Spanish: La tienda roja) is a joint Soviet/Italian 1969 film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.

The film is based on the story of the mission to rescue Umberto Nobile and the other survivors of the crash of the airship Italia. It features Sean Connery as Roald Amundsen and Peter Finch as Nobile. The script was adapted by Yuri Nagibin and Mikhail Kalatozov from Nagibin's novel of the same title. Nagibin couldn't complete the script due to a series of conflicts with the producer, who insisted on expanding the role of Claudia Cardinale, and it was completed by de Concini and Bolt.

Transpolar Drift Stream

The Transpolar Drift Stream is a major ocean current of the Arctic Ocean, transporting sea ice from the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea towards Fram Strait. Drift experiments with ships like Fram or Tara showed that the drift takes between two and four years.

In 1937, Pyotr Shirshov at the Soviet drift ice station North Pole-1 described this drift. The stream conveys water in roughly two major routes to the northern Atlantic Ocean at a rate of about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) per day. Primarily wind-driven, it flows roughly from the northern coast of Russia and Alaska, sometimes curving toward the Beaufort Sea before exiting to the Atlantic Ocean. It has been cited as a major factor in the North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic oscillation atmospheric changes. The drift typically takes one of two paths before exiting into the northern Atlantic Ocean.

On decadal and longer timescales, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Arctic Oscillation (AO) indices affect the flow pattern of the transpolar drift stream. During times of positive NAO (NAO+) and positive AO (AO+), there is a weak Arctic high and the associated surface winds produce a cyclonic (anti-clockwise) ice drift motion in eastern Arctic Ocean. In this case, the drift flows from the Laptev Sea towards the Beaufort Sea before exiting the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait. Conversely, during periods of NAO- and AO-, there is a strong Arctic high and ice motion flows in an anticyclonic (clockwise) motion in the Eurasian Basin. In this phase, the drift flows directly from the Laptev Sea through the Fram Strait.

Crystalline types
Formations and
Other uses
Ice ages
See also

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