• Kyodo, Staff Report

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The winter’s first sighting of drift ice from the Sea of Okhotsk took place Sunday in Abashiri, Hokkaido, marking the tourist attraction’s second-latest arrival since 1946, when the Meteorological Agency began recording the phenomena.

The arrival of the ice was 19 days later than average, according to the agency.

The northerly winds are less frequent this year, which delayed the arrival of the ice, the Meteorological Agency said.

Another apparent factor was warm air that rose over the Sea of Okhotsk and melted some of the bergs, the agency said.

The amount of ice drifting from the waters off Russia has been declining in recent years, possibly due to global warming. Many residents are concerned because ship tours to view the ice are internationally popular.

The ice also brings a large amount of plankton to the area around Hokkaido’s famed Shiretoko Peninsula, enriching biological resources there.

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