Though the Sea of Okhotsk off the eastern coast of Russia is almost entirely covered in ice during the winter months, it is one of the more productive marine environments in the world during the late spring and summer months.
Though the island is now officially part of Russia, it has switched hands several times between Russia and Japan over the past two centuries. Recently, the island has become the center of environmental controversy as American oil companies, with the assistance of the Russian government, have begun tapping into rich oil reserves off the coast of the island.
The above image was acquired on January 26, 2003, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft. Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.