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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Wed, 16.09.20 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 16 September 2020
September 16, 2020 - Sediment in the Strait of Tartary


Sediment in the Strait of Tartary

Swirls of brown sediment stained the blue waters of the Strait of
Tartary in mid-September 2020. The Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a
true-color image of the scene on September 12.

The Strait of Tartary (Tartar Strait) sits between the eastern Russian
mainland and Sakhalin Island, connecting the Sea of Okhotsk (north)
from the Sea of Japan (south). At the narrowest point, the Strait is a
mere 4.5 mi (7 km) wide but it still provides an important shipping
lane and in the wider stretches, harbors several important Russian
seaports. It is typically clogged with ice between mid-November and

The Strait receives fresh water from the Amur River, the world’s
tenth-longest river. The Amur rises in Mongolia, then flows east along
the Chinese-Russian border before turning northeast and ultimately
emptying into the Strait of Tartary. As it passes mountains, steppe,
agricultural land, and towns, the Amur collects sediment. When the flow
of the river is strong, the sediment can be carried thousands of miles
only to be spilled into the Strait of Tartary. According to a study
published in Marine Physics in 2017, the spreading of the sediment
plume into the Strait of Tartary typically takes place only during the
Amur’s freshet periods (times of high water flows, typically during ice
melt), and when there is strong western wind forcing, which induces
southward transport. The study states, “The average duration of this
process during the ice-free season is estimated as 15 days; however, in
individual years, it can be as short as several days”.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/12/2020
Resolutions: 1km (46.7 KB), 500m (161.7 KB), 250m (477.5
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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