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Ice-Out Update: May 15, 1998

News from Official Ice-out Observation Posts

River Teno, Utsjoki, Finland (Lapland)

To: Journey North
From: Students of Utsjoki, Finland
Date: May 18, 1998

"Hello, This is the latest news from the River Teno. The ice-out happened at 9.55 on May 14, 1998. At the moment the ice is bloced in the river and standing still. It's raining, so we expect it will clear the river up today or tomorrow. No serious damages reported.

"Utsjoki is a little village in northern Finland (69.883 N, 27.017 E), in the northernmost corner of EU (European Union) The Teno River is the border between Norway and Finland.

"The signal flag passed the line at 9.55 this morning. The competition is over but we don't know the winner because all the lists aren't collected yet.

"A short way down the river the ice is packed. In Ala-Niemela there are cottages only about 30 cm from the water level. And the water is rising... Half a meter and it will cut the private road.

"At the moment it is quiet and still. The coming night will show who is the master: the River or man. Our house is up the fjeld with a view to the river: I'll keep an eye on our boat which still is about its own length from the water line but you never know... If the water rises that high it will rise on the main road, too. If it does, the pupils from Nuorgam,
the northernmost village of Utsjoki won't come to school tomorrow. The sun is shining. There's excitement and magic in the air."

Utsjoen saamelaislukio
Aija Honkonen, Maija Sujala, Eeva Laiti, Heini Wesslin and Heidi Karjalainen

Tikigaq School on the Chukchi Sea

To: Journey North
From: Sheila Gaquin
Date: April 27, 1998

School closes here this Friday, May 15th, so this will be my last Ice Out report for the year. There hasn't been much to tell! We still have lots of sea ice, and we've had very few leads, so not much whaling. Its an odd year! I thought for a final report I would share a bit about the nature of sea

Did you know that sea ice is quite different from fresh water ice? As fresh water cools, its density increases--this means the molecules of water move closer together until the water reaches 4 degrees celsius, then the molecules of water begin to push apart. The coldest water, that at 0 degrees C.--the freezing point of fresh water--forms an ice layer that is lighter than water, so it floats. To picture this, think of people standing in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, and holding hands. As the temperature drops, 4-3-2-1-0 each person begins to move apart until their arms are straight out to their sides. This creates a lot of space between each person, and this space fills with AIR. The air makes the ice ligher than water, so it floats on the surface. Good thing too! Imagine what the world would be like if ice SANK
instead of floated! We'd have lakes and ponds might never reach ice out!

Strangely, when SALT water freezes it does NOT first. It becomes denser than water and actually sinks just below the surface of the water until it reaches -2 degrees celcius--the average freezing temperature of sea water--then it begins to floats. To picture this, think of the same people standing in the same circle, holding hands, but this time as the temperature drops, the people move CLOSER together, becoming heavier than water. Then suddenly, at -2 degrees celsius, they move back with their arms stretched out as in the fresh water example.

Another way sea ice differs from fresh water ice, is that it does not form into a sheet as it freezes, instead it freezes into separate, floating crystals of ice. It looks a bit like a milkshake. This is called frazil ice. The frazil ice undulates with the motion of the water, and yet it is solid enough for birds to land on. As the temperature continues to drop, the frazil ice finally forms a solid sheet of sea ice which floats on the surface of the water.

Well, that's it for this year! Have a great summer.

Sheila Gaquin
Tikigaq School(say Tick'-key-yock)
Point Hope, AK
Tikigaq WWW Site

This is the FINAL Ice-Out Update.

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