East Siberian Sea
Overview
 
The East Siberian Sea is a marginal sea
Marginal sea
The term marginal sea has differing meanings. In one sense the term is equivalent to territorial waters. In another sense the term indicates a partially enclosed sea adjacent to or widely open to the open ocean, but bounded by submarine ridges...

 in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. It is located between the Arctic Cape
Arctic Cape
The Arctic Cape is the northernmost point of the Komsomolets Island, which in turn is the northernmost island of the Russian Severnaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Its coordinates are approximately...

 to the north, the coast of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to the south, the New Siberian Islands
New Siberian Islands
The New Siberian Islands are an archipelago, located to the North of the East Siberian coast between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea north of the Sakha Republic....

 to the west and Cape Billings
Cape Billings
Cape Billings , is a headland on the northern coast of Chukotka, Russian Federation to the west of Cape Schmidt. The shore in the area around cape Billings is bounded by narrow landspits, beach ridges and swales enclosing a series of coastal inshore lagoons....

, close to Chukotka
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

, and Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

 to the east. This sea borders on the Laptev Sea
Laptev Sea
The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

 to the west and the Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the De Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific...

 to the east.

This sea is one of the least studied in the Arctic area. It is characterized by severe climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

, low water salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

, and a scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, as well as shallow depths (mostly less than 50 meters), slow sea currents, low tide
Tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

s (below 25 cm), frequent fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

s, especially in summer, and an abundance of ice field
Ice field
An ice field is an area less than 50,000 km² of ice often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation. It is an extensive area of interconnected valley glaciers from which the higher peaks rise as nunataks...

s which fully melt only in August–September.
Encyclopedia
The East Siberian Sea is a marginal sea
Marginal sea
The term marginal sea has differing meanings. In one sense the term is equivalent to territorial waters. In another sense the term indicates a partially enclosed sea adjacent to or widely open to the open ocean, but bounded by submarine ridges...

 in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. It is located between the Arctic Cape
Arctic Cape
The Arctic Cape is the northernmost point of the Komsomolets Island, which in turn is the northernmost island of the Russian Severnaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Its coordinates are approximately...

 to the north, the coast of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to the south, the New Siberian Islands
New Siberian Islands
The New Siberian Islands are an archipelago, located to the North of the East Siberian coast between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea north of the Sakha Republic....

 to the west and Cape Billings
Cape Billings
Cape Billings , is a headland on the northern coast of Chukotka, Russian Federation to the west of Cape Schmidt. The shore in the area around cape Billings is bounded by narrow landspits, beach ridges and swales enclosing a series of coastal inshore lagoons....

, close to Chukotka
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

, and Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

 to the east. This sea borders on the Laptev Sea
Laptev Sea
The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

 to the west and the Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the De Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific...

 to the east.

This sea is one of the least studied in the Arctic area. It is characterized by severe climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

, low water salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

, and a scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, as well as shallow depths (mostly less than 50 meters), slow sea currents, low tide
Tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

s (below 25 cm), frequent fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

s, especially in summer, and an abundance of ice field
Ice field
An ice field is an area less than 50,000 km² of ice often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation. It is an extensive area of interconnected valley glaciers from which the higher peaks rise as nunataks...

s which fully melt only in August–September. The sea shores were inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous tribes of Yukaghirs, Chukchi
Chukchi people
The Chukchi, or Chukchee , ) are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language...

 and then Evens
Evens
The Evens or Eveny are a people in Siberia and the Russian Far East. They live in some of the regions of the Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka Krai and northern parts of Sakha east of the Lena River. According to the 2002 census, there were 19,071 Evens in Russia...

 and Evenks
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

, which were engaged in fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry. They were then absorbed by Yakuts
Yakuts
Yakuts , are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha Republic.The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages....

 and later by Russians.

Major industrial activities in the area are mining and navigation within the Northern Sea Route
Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route is 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, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

; commercial fishing is poorly developed. The largest city and port is Pevek
Pevek
Pevek is a town and Arctic port in Chaunsky District, part of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia. After Anadyr and Bilibino it is the third largest town in Chukotka. Population: Municipally, the town is subordinated to Chaunsky Municipal district and together with Apapelgino and Yanranay, is...

, the northernmost city
Northernmost cities and towns
This is a list of the northernmost cities and towns in the world.-Larger cities:Northernmost cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.Northernmost cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants.-See also:*Southernmost cities and towns...

 of mainland Russia.

Name

The present name was assigned to the sea on 27 June 1935 by Decree of the Soviet Government. Before that, the sea had no distinct name was intermixedly called in Russia as "Indigirskoe", "Kolymskoe", "Severnoe" (Northern), "Sibirskoe" or "Ledovitoe".

Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

 defines the limits of the East Siberian Sea as follows:

On the West. The Eastern limit of Laptev Sea
Laptev Sea
The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

 [From the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island
Kotelny/Faddeyevsky Island
Kotelny Island is part of the Anzhu Islands subgroup of the New Siberian Islands located between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea in the Russian Arctic....

 – through Kotelni Island to Cape Madvejyi. Then through Malyi Island
Little Lyakhovsky Island
Maly Lyakhovsky Island is the second largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands belonging to the New Siberian Islands archipelago in Laptev Sea in northern Russia...

, to Cape Vaguin on Great Liakhov Island. Thence to Cape Sviaroy Noss on the main land].

On the North. A line from the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

 (179°30'W) to the Northern sides of the De Long Islands
De Long Islands
The De Long Islands are an uninhabited archipelago often included as part of the New Siberian Islands, lying north east of Novaya Sibir. This archipelago consists of Jeannette Island, Henrietta Island, Bennett Island, Vilkitsky Island and Zhokhov Island. These five islands have a total area of...

 (including Henrietta
Henrietta Island
Henrietta Island is the northernmost island of the De Long archipelago in the East Siberian Sea. 40% of the island is covered with glaciers. Henrietta is roughly circular in shape and its diameter is about 6 km...

 and Jeannette Island
Jeannette Island
Jeannette Island is the easternmost island of the De Long Islands archipelago in the East Siberian Sea. It is the second smallest island of the De Long group, being only 2 km in length. It has an area of approximately . The highest peak of the island is...

s) and Bennett Island
Bennett Island
Bennett Island is the largest of the islands of the De Long group in the northern part of the East Siberian Sea. The area of this island is approximately 150 km² ...

, thence to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island.

On the East. From the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island through this island to Cape Blossom

Cape Blossom, Alaska
Cape Blossom is a cape located on the Baldwin Peninsula in Alaska which occupies a point that extends southwestwards into Kotzebue Sound, 18 km south of Kotzebue....

 thence to Cape Yakan on the main land (176°40'E).

Topography

Because it is open towards the Arctic Ocean in the north, the main gulfs of the East Siberian Sea, like the Kolyma Bay
Kolyma Bay
The Kolyma Bay is one of the main gulfs of the East Siberian Sea.The bay gets its name from the Kolyma Lowlands, whose coastline forms the whole eastern half of this bay. The Kolyma Lowlands are dotted with numerous lakes and swamps...

, the Kolyma Gulf
Kolyma Gulf
The Kolyma Gulf is the largest gulf of the East Siberian Sea...

 and the Chaunskaya Bay
Chaunskaya Bay
The Chaunskaya Bay or Chaun Bay is an Arctic bay in the East Siberian Sea, in the Chaunsky District of Chukotka, northeast Siberia.The bay is open to the north and is 140 km in length. Its maximum width is 110 km. Its mouth is defined by Cape Shelagsky to the east and an unnamed part of...

, are all located in its southern limits. There are no islands in the middle of the East Siberian Sea, but there are a few islands and island groups in its coastal waters, like Ayon Island
Ayon Island
Ayon Island is an island in the coast of Chukotka in the East Siberian Sea. The island itself consists mainly of low lying tundra, is populated mainly by Chukchi, who use the tundra as pasture for their reindeer herds.-Geography:...

 and the Medvyezhi island group
Medvyezhi Islands
The Medvezhyi Islands, or Bear Islands is an uninhabited group of islands at the western end of the Kolyma Gulf of the East Siberian Sea. It is located about to the north of the mouths of the Kolyma River. The coast of Siberia is about to the southwest of the largest island, which is about km...

. The total area of the islands is only 80 km². Some islands mostly consist of sand and ice and gradually erode.

The total catchment area is 1,342,000 km². Among the rivers flowing into the East Siberian Sea, the Indigirka
Indigirka River
The Indigirka River is a river in the Sakha Republic in Russia between the Yana River and the Kolyma River. It is in length. The area of its basin is 360,000 km²...

, the Alazeya
Alazeya River
The Alazeya River is a river in the northeastern part of Yakutia, Russia which flows into the Arctic between the basins of the larger Indigirka River to the west and the Kolyma River to the east. The river is long...

, The Ujandina, the Chukochya River
Chukochya River
The Chukochya River or Bolshaya Chukochya River is a river in the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation. It crosses the tundra roughly northeastwards and flows into the Kolyma Gulf of the East Siberian Sea west of the mouths of the Kolyma River. Its mouth is located at 70.1 N, 159.7667 E...

, the Kolyma
Kolyma River
The Kolyma River is a river in northeastern Siberia, whose basin covers parts of the Sakha Republic, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, and Magadan Oblast of Russia. Itrises in the mountains north of Okhotsk and Magadan, in the area of and...

, the Rauchua
Rauchua River
The Rauchua River is a stream in Far East Siberia. It passes through the sparsely populated areas of the Siberian tundra and flows northwards into the Kolyma Gulf, East Siberian Sea, not far west from Ayon Island....

, the Chaun
Chaun River
The Chaun River is a stream in Far East Siberia. It flows roughly northwards, passing through the sparsely populated areas of the Siberian tundra.The Chaun River flows into the East Siberian Sea at the Chaunskaya Bay, 100 km S of Pevek city...

, and the Pegtymel
Pegtymel River
The Pegtymel River is a stream in Far East Siberia. It passes through the sparsely populated areas of the Siberian tundra and flows into the East Siberian Sea west of the De Long Strait. Its mouth is between Cape Shelagsky on Chaunskaya Bay and Cape Billings to the east...

 are the most important. Only a few rivers are navigable. The coastline of the sea is 3,016 km long. It makes large bends, sometimes stretching deep into the land, and has a rather different topography in the eastern and western parts. Fine bends are rare and occur only in the river deltas
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

. The coastal section between the New Siberian Islands and the mouth of the Kolyma River is uniform, with low and slowly varying slopes. It extends landwards to the marshy tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 filled with numerous small lakes. In contrast, the coast to the east of the Kolyma River is mountainous, with steep cliffs.

The underwater topography of the shelf that forms the seabed is a plain, sloping from southwest to northeast, covered in a mixture of silt, sand and stones and lacking significant depressions and elevations. About 70% of the sea is shallower than 50 meters, with predominant depths of 20–25 meters. North-east to the mouth of the Kolyma and Indigirka rivers, there are deep trenches on the seabed, which are attributed to the ancient river valleys, now submerged by the sea. The region of small depths in the western part forms the Novosibirsk shoal. The greatest depths of about 150 meters are found in the north-eastern part of the sea.

Climate

The climate is polar and is influenced by the continent and Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In winter, it is mostly affected by the continent. South-westerly and southerly winds having the speeds of 6–7 m/s bring cold air from Siberia, so the average temperature in January is approximately –30 °C. The weather is calm, clear and stable with occasional intrusions by cyclones. Atlantic cyclones increase the wind speed and air temperature whereas Pacific ones bring clouds, storms and blizzards.

The winds blow from the north in summer; they are weak in June, strengthen to 6–7 m/s in July and reach 10–15 m/s in August, making the western part of the sea one of the most violent areas on the northern Russian coast. The southeastern part is however much calmer. Northerly winds result in the low average temperatures of 0–1 °C in the open sea and 2–3 °C on the coast in July. Skies are usually cloudy, with frequent drizzling rains or wet snow. Along the coasts, fogs occur 90–100 days per year, mostly in summer (68–75 days). Precipitation is low at 100–200 mm per year, but it is still larger than the evaporation volume.

Hydrology

The continental runoff into the East Siberian Sea is relatively small at about 250 km3/year that makes only 10% of the total runoff in all the Arctic seas of Russia. The largest contribution is from the Kolyma River at 132 km3, followed by the Indigirka River at 59 km3. Most runoff (90%) occurs in summer; it is concentrated near the coast, owing to the weak river currents, and therefore does not significantly affect the sea hydrology. The water exchange between the neighboring seas is as follows. The annual outflow to the Laptev Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean is 3,240, 6,600 and 11,430 km3, respectively; while the respective inflow values are 3,240, 8,800 and 9,230 km3.

The surface water temperature decreases from south to north. In winter it varies between –0.2 and 0.6 °C at the river deltas and from –1.7 to –1.8 °C in the northern sea part. In summer, it warms to 7–8 °C in the bays and inlets and to 2–3 °C in the ice-free sea zones.

Surface water salinity increases from southwest to northeast. In winter and spring, it is 4–5‰ (parts per thousand) near the deltas of the Kolyma and Indigirka rivers. It increases to 28–30‰ in the sea center, reaching 31–32‰ at its northern outskirts. Salinity decreases in summer by some 5‰ due to the snow melting. It also decreases by some 5–7‰ from the sea bottom to the surface.

There are constant currents at the sea surface directed from west to east. They are weak and thus can temporarily change direction due to the wind. The tide
Tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

s are semidiurnal (rising twice a day) with the amplitude between 5 and 25 cm. The tidal wave weakens toward the coast due to shallow waters. The sea level is maximal in summer, due to the river runoff, and in autumn due to the winds. It is the lowest in March–April, with the total annual fluctuations within about 70 cm. Winds bring storms with waves reaching 3–5 meters in the western part whereas the eastern regions are relatively calm. The storms typically last 1–2 days in summer; they are more frequent in winter and may extend up to 3–5 days.

The sea freezes over between October–November and June–July. The ice is continuous and stationary near the coast, reaching the thickness of 2 meters by the end of winter; The thickness decreases from west to east. Further into the sea, the ice cover transforms into drifting ice having the thickness of 2–3 meters. The southern winter winds shift this ice northwards, making polynya
Polynya
A polynya or polynia is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as geographical term for an area of unfrozen sea within the ice pack. It is a loanword from , , which means a natural ice hole, and was adopted in the 19th century by polar explorers to describe navigable...

s near the sea center. There are no iceberg
Iceberg
An iceberg is a large piece of ice from freshwater that has broken off from a snow-formed glacier or ice shelf and is floating in open water. It may subsequently become frozen into pack ice...

s in the sea. Ice melting typically starts around May, first around the delta of the major Kolyma River.

In absence of industry, sea water is rather clean. Minor contaminations are found near the Novosibirsk and Wrangel islands (up to 80 µg/L), due to occasional oil spills, and in Chaunskaya Bay due to the local thermal power station
Thermal power station
A thermal power station is a power plant in which the prime mover is steam driven. Water is heated, turns into steam and spins a steam turbine which drives an electrical generator. After it passes through the turbine, the steam is condensed in a condenser and recycled to where it was heated; this...

 and activities at the major port Pevek.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna are relatively scarce due to the harsh climate. The summer plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

 bloom is short but intense, producing 5 million tonnes of plankton in August and September, whereas the annual production is 7 million tonnes. The nutrients in water are mostly provided by river discharges and coastal erosion. The plankton species are dominated by the Pacific species of copepod
Copepod
Copepods are a group of small crustaceans found in the sea and nearly every freshwater habitat. Some species are planktonic , some are benthic , and some continental species may live in limno-terrestrial habitats and other wet terrestrial places, such as swamps, under leaf fall in wet forests,...

s.

The sea shores and icefields host ringed seal
Ringed Seal
The ringed seal , also known as the jar seal and as netsik or nattiq by the Inuit, is an earless seal inhabiting the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions...

s (Phoca hispida), bearded seal
Bearded Seal
The bearded seal , also called the square flipper seal, is a medium-sized pinniped that is found in and near to the Arctic Ocean. It gets its generic name from two Greek words that refer to its heavy jaw...

s (Erignathus barbatus) and walrus
Walrus
The walrus is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in the Arctic Ocean and sub-Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The walrus is the only living species in the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus. It is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic...

es (Odobenus rosmarus) along with their predator, polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Birds include seagulls, uria
Uria
Uria is a genus of seabirds in the auk family known in Britain as guillemots, in most of North America as murres, and in Newfoundland and Labrador as turr. These are medium-sized birds with mainly brown or black plumage in the breeding season...

 and cormorant
Cormorant
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.- Names :...

s. Sea waters are often visited by bowhead whale
Bowhead Whale
The bowhead whale is a baleen whale of the right whale family Balaenidae in suborder Mysticeti. A stocky dark-colored whale without a dorsal fin, it can grow to in length. This thick-bodied species can weigh to , second only to the blue whale, although the bowhead's maximum length is less than...

 (Balaena mysticetus), gray whale
Gray Whale
The gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus, is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of about , a weight of , and lives 50–70 years. The common name of the whale comes from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin. Gray whales were...

 (Eschrichtius robustus), beluga
Beluga
The beluga or white whale, Delphinapterus leucas, is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal. This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter...

 (Delphinapterus leucas) and narwhal
Narwhal
The narwhal, Monodon monoceros, is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. One of two living species of whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the beluga whale, the narwhal males are distinguished by a characteristic long, straight, helical tusk extending from their...

 (Monodon monoceros). Major fish species are grayling
Grayling (genus)
Thymallus is a genus of freshwater fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes; it is the only genus of subfamily Thymallinae. The type species is T. thymallus, the grayling. The genus's five distinct species are generically called graylings, but without qualification this also refers...

 and Coregonus
Coregonus
Coregonus is a diverse genus of fish in the salmon family . The type species is the common whitefish . The Coregonus species are known as whitefishes...

(whitefishes), such as muksun
Muksun
The Muksun is a type of whitefish. Its name is derived from its Russian name Муксун.The muksun is a widespread fish in the Siberian Arctic waters. It is mostly found in the freshened areas of the Kara and Laptev Seas and up the major rivers, as well as in Lake Taymyr.Like all whitefishes, it is a...

 (Coregonus muksun), broad whitefish
Broad Whitefish
The broad whitefish is a freshwater whitefish species. Dark silvery in colour, and like a herring in its shape, its distinctive features include a convex head, short gill rakers, and a mild overbite. It is found in the Arctic-draining streams, lakes, and rivers of far eastern Russia and North...

 (Coregonus nasus) and omul
Omul
The omul, Coregonus migratorius, also known as Baikal omul , is a whitefish species of the salmon family endemic to Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. It is considered a delicacy and is the object of one of the largest commercial fisheries on Lake Baikal...

 (Coregonus autumnalis). Also common are polar smelt
European smelt
The Smelt or European smelt is a species of fish in the Osmeridae family.- Shape and appearance :The body of the European smelt is typically 15 to 18 cm long, slender and slightly flattened on either side. Larger fish may reach 30 cm in length. Smelts have a slightly translucent body...

, saffron cod
Saffron cod
The saffron cod , is a commercially harvested fish closely related to true cods . It is dark grey-green to brown, with spots on its sides and pale towards the belly. It may grow to 60 cm and weigh up to 1.3 kg....

, polar cod
Polar cod
The polar cod , also known as the Arctic cod, is a fish of the cod family Gadidae, related to the true cod . Note that there is another fish with the common name Arctic cod, Arctogadus glacialis....

, flounder
Flounder
The flounder is an ocean-dwelling flatfish species that is found in coastal lagoons and estuaries of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.-Taxonomy:There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.*Western Atlantic...

 and arctic char
Arctic char
Arctic char or Arctic charr is both a freshwater and saltwater fish in the Salmonidae family, native to Arctic, sub-Arctic and alpine lakes and coastal waters. No other freshwater fish is found as far north. It is the only species of fish in Lake Hazen, on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic...

.

History

The coast of the East Siberian Sea was inhabited for ages by the native peoples of northern Siberia such as Yukaghirs and Chukchi
Chukchi people
The Chukchi, or Chukchee , ) are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language...

 (eastern areas). Those tribes were engaged in fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry, as reindeer sleds were essential for transportation and hunting. They were joined and absorbed by Evens
Evens
The Evens or Eveny are a people in Siberia and the Russian Far East. They live in some of the regions of the Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka Krai and northern parts of Sakha east of the Lena River. According to the 2002 census, there were 19,071 Evens in Russia...

 and Evenks
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

 around the 2nd century and later, between 9th and 15th centuries, by much more numerous Yakuts
Yakuts
Yakuts , are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha Republic.The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages....

. All those tribes moved north from the Baikal Lake area avoiding confrontations with Mongols. Whereas they all practiced shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

, they spoke different languages.

The sea was navigated by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n sea-farers, moving from one river mouth to another in their koch
Koch (boat)
The Koch was a special type of small one or two mast wooden sailing ships designed and used in Russia for transpolar voyages in ice conditions of the Arctic seas, popular among the Pomors....

s as early as the 17th century. In 1648, Semyon Dezhnev
Semyon Dezhnev
Semyon Ivanovich Dezhnyov was a Russian explorer of Siberia and the first European to sail through the Bering Strait. In 1648 he sailed from the Kolyma River on the Arctic Ocean to the Anadyr River on the Pacific...

 and Fedot Alekseev
Fedot Alekseyev Popov
Fedot Alekseyevich Popov , date of birth unknown, died between 1648 and 1654) was a Russian explorer who organized the first European expedition through the Bering Strait.He was normally known as Fedot Alekseyev. Only a few sources call him the son of Popov...

 sailed the coast of the East Siberian Sea from the Kolyma to river Anadyr
Anadyr River
Anadyr is a river in the far northeast Siberia which flows into Anadyr Bay of the Bering Sea and drains much of the interior of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Its basin corresponds to the Anadyrsky District of Chukotka....

 in the Bering Sea
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

. Systematic exploration and mapping of the sea and its coasts was carried out by a series of expeditions in 1735–42, 1820–24, 1822, 1909 and 1911–14.

In the 1930s, the coastal settlement of Ambarchik
Ambarchik
Ambarchik is a rural locality and a port in Nizhnekolymsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located from Chersky, the administrative center of the district. It is located on the shores of Ambarchik Bay, part of the East Siberian Sea in the Arctic Ocean...

, located at the delta of the Kolyma River, was used as a transient labor camp
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

 from which prisoners were transported to other northern camps of the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 system. While stationed at Ambarchik, prisoners were employed to build most of the port infrastructure and to unload the incoming ships. Later, due to shallow waters, the shipping was gradually transferred to Chersky
Chersky (settlement)
Chersky is an urban locality and the administrative center of Nizhnekolymsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located on the Kolyma River east of Yakutsk. Population:...

 in the lower reaches of the Kolyma, in order to accommodate larger vessels. As a result of this transfer, the port and settlement have been abandoned. Nowadays, Ambarchik only hosts a meteorological station operated by a few staff members.

Another two labor camps of the Gulag system were later opened near Pevek, namely Chaunlag (1951–1953) and Chaunchukotlag (1949–1957). Both contained about 10,000 inmates used in the mine and construction works.

Human activities

The southern coast of the sea is shared by the Sakha Republic on the west and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug , or Chukotka , is a federal subject of Russia located in the Russian Far East.Chukotka has a population of 53,824 according to the 2002 Census, and a surface area of . The principal town and the administrative center is Anadyr...

 of Russia on the east. The coastal settlements are few and small, with the typical population below 100. The only city is Pevek
Pevek
Pevek is a town and Arctic port in Chaunsky District, part of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia. After Anadyr and Bilibino it is the third largest town in Chukotka. Population: Municipally, the town is subordinated to Chaunsky Municipal district and together with Apapelgino and Yanranay, is...

 (population 5,206), which is the northernmost city
Northernmost cities and towns
This is a list of the northernmost cities and towns in the world.-Larger cities:Northernmost cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.Northernmost cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants.-See also:*Southernmost cities and towns...

 in Russia. There are gold mines near Leningradsky
Leningradsky, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Leningradsky is an urban locality in Iultinsky District of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, about west of Mys Shmidta. Population: -History:...

 and Pevek, but many mines have been closed recently, for example, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 mines at Pevek in the 1990s, that resulted in outflow of population. So, the Logashkino
Logashkino
Logashkino was a settlement in Nizhnekolymsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, Russia, which was abolished in 1998. It was a trading post on the shores of the Kolyma Bay, East Siberian Sea, located in the Logashkino harbor. Elevation: ....

 settlement, which used to be a notable East Siberian Sea port, was abolished in 1998.

The sea is used mostly for transportation of goods across the northern coast of Russia during August–September. The navigation is hindered even in summer by the remaining floating ice which is also brought down to the southern shores by occasional winds. Fishery and hunting of marine animals is still practiced as traditional activities, but has only local importance. Fishery mostly targets salmon, halibut and crab. Data exist on fish production, which in 2005 was distributed, in thousand tonnes as follows: sardine
Sardine
Sardines, or pilchards, are several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines are named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which they were once abundant....

 (1.6), Arctic cisco
Arctic Cisco
Arctic cisco is an anadromous species of freshwater whitefish that inhabits the Arctic parts of Siberia, Alaska and Canada. It also has a close freshwater relative in several lakes of Ireland, known as the pollan, alternatively regarded as conspecific with it, or as a distinct species...

 (1.8), Bering cisco
Bering cisco
The Bering cisco or Lauretta whitefish is a freshwater whitefish found in Alaska and part of Russia. It is often considered to be the same species as the more common Arctic cisco .- Description :...

 (2.2), broad whitefish
Broad Whitefish
The broad whitefish is a freshwater whitefish species. Dark silvery in colour, and like a herring in its shape, its distinctive features include a convex head, short gill rakers, and a mild overbite. It is found in the Arctic-draining streams, lakes, and rivers of far eastern Russia and North...

 (2.7), Muksun
Muksun
The Muksun is a type of whitefish. Its name is derived from its Russian name Муксун.The muksun is a widespread fish in the Siberian Arctic waters. It is mostly found in the freshened areas of the Kara and Laptev Seas and up the major rivers, as well as in Lake Taymyr.Like all whitefishes, it is a...

 (2.8) and others (3.6).

The principal port is Pevek
Pevek
Pevek is a town and Arctic port in Chaunsky District, part of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia. After Anadyr and Bilibino it is the third largest town in Chukotka. Population: Municipally, the town is subordinated to Chaunsky Municipal district and together with Apapelgino and Yanranay, is...

 (in the Chaunskaya Bay) After the breakup of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, commercial navigation in the Arctic went into decline. Nowadays more or less regular shipping occurs only between Pevek and Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

. Ports in the northern Siberian coast located between Dudinka
Dudinka
Dudinka is a town and the administrative center of Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It was the administrative center of Taymyr Autonomous Okrug, which was merged into Krasnoyarsk Krai on January 1, 2007. It is a port in the lower reaches of the Yenisei River,...

 and Pevek see next to no shipping at all.

Since 1944, most electricity for the region is provided by the 30 MW thermal power station
Thermal power station
A thermal power station is a power plant in which the prime mover is steam driven. Water is heated, turns into steam and spins a steam turbine which drives an electrical generator. After it passes through the turbine, the steam is condensed in a condenser and recycled to where it was heated; this...

 of Pevek. It is aging and consumes much oil which has to be brought from far away. Therefore, there is a project to replace the station by a floating 70 MW atomic power station by 2015.

See also

  • Northern Sea Route
    Northern Sea Route
    The Northern Sea Route is 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, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

  • Eduard Toll
    Eduard Toll
    Eduard Gustav von Toll was a Baltic German geologist and Arctic explorer in Russian service. Often referred to as Baron von Toll or as Eduard v. Toll, in Russia he is known as Eduard Vasiliyevich Toll . Eduard Toll was born on and he died in 1902 in an unknown location in the Arctic Ocean)...

  • Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route
    Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route
    The Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route , also known as Glavsevmorput, was a Soviet government organization in charge of the naval Northern Sea Route, established in January 1932 and dissolved in 1964.-History:The organization traces its roots to AO Komseveroput, a shipping company...


External links

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