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The Sea Ice En Route to Nome

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Story by Matthew Smith

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Ice at Nome shorelineSea ice at shoreSea ice sunset
The Bering Sea shoreline near Nome was dominated with ice in early December 2011, when the above photos were taken.
After the Renda leaves Dutch Harbor, it will soon come to the ice edge and begin to break through the thickening sea ice. The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service are keeping a close watch on ice conditions as the tanker heads north, looking for the safest route with the least ice.

Kathleen Cole is the Sea Ice Program Leader for the National Weather Service in Alaska. She’s been monitoring the Renda’s path since it left Korea several weeks ago, and she says the Renda could encounter ice as thick as three feet on its journey. The double-hulled Renda can cut through four feet of ice, and it recently traveled through five feet of ice while delivering fuel to the Russian Far East. Kathleen describes the varying thickness of the sea ice that the Renda will encounter on its route to Nome.

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