Source: China Meteorological News Press
In Heilongjiang, China, it is the best time to enjoy the ice and snow now. The naive huge snowman, the cute "truant penguins" and the ice carnival on the Songhuajiang River ...... are luring visitors from all over the world.
In this winter added with extraordinary props and entertainments like artificial moon, hot air balloon, symphony orchestra and ethnic (Oroqen) reindeer show, the welcoming capital city of Harbin is fetching swarms of tourists.
Being distinctly seasonal, Harbin has long winters and short summers, hence rich in snow and ice for its long snow periods.
Among all the scenic spots, the most popular is the Harbin Ice and Snow World, in which the main tower "Ice and Snow Crown" of 43 meters high -- equivalent to a 14-story building -- is made from 13,000 cubic meters of ice.
Being built along a river, Harbin excels at collecting ice for making scenery, a custom that dates back to a hundred years ago. The new landmark of the Ice and Snow World is very fastidious about ice, which must be harvested from the section of the Songhuajiang River with the most stable water flow, the clearest water body, the highest ice transparency.
December ushers in the best days of ice harvesting in the Songhuajiang River. The surface temperature of the river is lower than -20℃ constantly, sometimes even down to -30℃. At this time, the ice crystal nuclei continues to be formed and broken by the stable water flow, a process of circulation in which homogeneous and translucent ice takes shape, the thickness of which generally reaches more than 30 centimeters, just fit for the purpose.
At four or five o'clock in the morning, when the sky is just dawning, the ice pickers go to the river to prepare for mining. Firstly they clear the snow from the ice so that the subsequent sawing can proceed smoothly. Generally speaking, only when the thickness of the ice layer reaches between 24 and 25 cm can the first stroke of ice sawing be given. And the first run goes to a depth of 20cm or so instead of going through. When the ice is as thick as 30cm or more, it can be sawed off. Afterwards, an expanse of ice rows is seen on the river, and wedges are used to squeeze open the rows, the so-called ‘bursting’ process. Immediately thereafter, the rows are cut into pieces, the so-called ‘breaking’ process. The ice is then transported to the playground for landscaping purpose.
In recent years, Heilongjiang has seen an ice and snow related boom in sporting, culture, equipment and tourism. By actively integrating themselves into the local development, the local meteorologists have launched a campaign for winter tourism weather services and products, including those tailored for the Ice and Snow World and the Snow Expo.
Editor: XU Nenyu, JIANG Zhiqing