Where Is The East Siberian Sea Located?

Ice floating in the East Siberian Sea.

The East Siberian Sea is a portion of the Arctic Ocean situated between Wrangle Island and New Siberia Island and linked to the Laptev Sea by the Sannikov, Dmitrya Lapteva, and Eterikan Straits. It is also connected to the Chukchi Sea by the Long Strait.

The East Siberian Sea has not been extensively studied. The sea obtained its present name on June 27, 1935. Before then, it had no specific name and was called by several names including "Indigirskoe," "Sibirskoe," "Severnoe" (Northern), "Kolymskoe", or "Ledovitoe." Major activities around the sea include mining and navigation while commercial fishing is largely undeveloped.

Geography Of The Sea

East Siberia is a relatively large sea, covering a surface area of approximately 361,000 square miles. The sea is covered by ice most of the year. The deepest part of the sea is about 510 feet while its central and western part can be as shallow as 30-60 feet. On the west, the sea reaches the eastern limits of the Laptev Sea while the northern limit of the sea is defined as a line from the extreme northern point of the Wrangle Island to the northern side of the Bennett Island and De Long Island. The eastern limit is defined as from the extreme northern point of the Wrangle Island to Cape Blossom then to Cape Yakan in the mainland. East Sea has some islands at the coastal waters but none in the middle. The islands cover an area of only 80 square kilometers. Some of the notable islands include Medvyezhi island group and Ayon Island. The East Siberian Sea has a catchment area of approximately 1.342 million square kilometers with the rivers such as Indigirka, Uyandina, and Alazeya flowing into the sea. It has a coastline of about 3,016 kilometers in length.


The East Siberian Sea receives very little water from continental runoff, approximately 250 cubic kilometers per year or 10% of the total runoff in the Arctic seas of Russia. It receives the largest volume from Kolyma River at 132 cubic kilometers and 59 cubic kilometers from Indigirka River. Most runoffs take place in the summer. There is also an exchange of water between the East Siberian Sea and the neighboring seas. Its annual outflow to the Arctic Ocean, Chukchi Sea, and the Laptev Sea are 11,430, 6,600, and 3,240 cubic kilometers respectively while the respective inflow is 9,230, 8,800, and 3,240 cubic kilometers. While the surface water temperature increases from north to south, the salinity increases from southwest to northeast. The sea surface is characterized by constant current flow from west to east and sometimes change direction due to the wind. The sea also freezes between October and November and July June and July.


The East Siberian Sea has very scarce flora and fauna due to the harsh condition. The sea provides a conducive environment for summer planktons, producing over 5 million tons in August and September. The nutrients in water usually come from the river discharge. Ringed seals, bearded seals, walrus, polar bears, and certain bird species such as seagulls and cormorants are some of the animals living in and around the sea.


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