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Winter's frozen splendor

Ice and snow changes our environment, as winter engulfs our world.

A pelican sits in the water during snowfall at the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany, on Feb. 19. Winter has returned to Hesse with snow and freezing temperatures. EPA
A skier sets off from the peak of Mount Aigba in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, about 30 miles from Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, on Feb. 13. With a year to go until the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, construction work continues as tests events and World Championship competitions are underway. Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island remain closed for over three months after Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage to both islands, seen here on Feb. 11. No date has been set for their reopening. John Makely / NBC News
A boy dressed up as Momotxorro, a local mythical animal, walks in the snow during carnival celebrations in Alsasua, northern Spain, on Feb. 12. Alvaro Barrientos / AP
Costumed revellers walk on St. Mark's square as it snows during the carnival on Feb. 11, in Venice, Italy. Andrea Pattaro / AFP - Getty Images
Children sled in Central Park on Feb. 9, in New York City. The park received almost a foot of snow, as New York was spared the worst of the massive snow storm that hit the U.S. Northeast. John Moore / Getty Images
Friends Dela, 8, left, and Charlotte, 8, slide down stairs in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 9. Residents started to clean up after a massive snow storm dumped up to three feet of snow on parts of the Northeast. Jonathan Sanger / NBC News
A woman digs out her car after it was blocked in by drifting snow during a blizzard, on Feb. 9, in Portland, Maine. The storm dumped more than 30 inches of snow as of Saturday afternoon. Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Two women look for a taxi in the snow in New York City's Times Square, on Feb. 8. The storm was forecast to bring the heaviest snow to the densely-populated northeast corridor so far this winter, threatening power and transport links for tens of millions of people and the major cities of Boston and New York. Mehdi Taamallah / AFP - Getty Images
A man prays at a temple as it snows in Shanghai on Feb. 7, ahead of the Lunar New Year. Peter Parks / AFP - Getty Images
A young girl is pictured with her dog and a pony as it snows near Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 7. Janek Skarzynski / AFP - Getty Images
A woman jogs over snow-covered meadows on the banks of the Elbe river in Dresden, Germany, on Feb. 6. Arno Burgi / EPA
Kindergarteners pour cold water on themselves under the watch of fitness coach Margarita Filimonova (right), with the temperature at about minus 9.4 degrees Fahrenheit, in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, on Feb. 5. The program, which also involves sports training, sauna usage and which has been practiced by the kindergarten for 15 years, improves health and keeps children fit. Children start pouring cold water on themselves outdoors after about three years of training and undergoing medical tests, while the kindergarten is the only one in the region which uses these exercises, according to employees. Ilya Naymushin / Reuters
Two men ride their sled during the traditional Schnablerrennen sled race in Gaissach, Germany, on Jan. 27. Over 100 costumed sled racers took part in the traditional event. The race is held annually on sleighs formerly used to bring down hay or logs from the mountains. Tobias Hase / dpa via AP
Water drips from icicles along the Oude Gracht canal in Utrecht on Jan. 25. Michael Kooren / Reuters
A passerby takes photos of the fountain at Bryant Park in New York on Jan. 25 as the arctic air has turned the fountain into an ice sculpture. The fountain was installed at the east side of Bryant Park in 1913 and then in 1936 was moved to the west side of the park. Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images
Ostriches crowd in an open-air cage at the ostrich farm in the Belarus village of Kozishche, some 185 miles southwest of Minsk, on Jan. 24 Viktor Drachev / AFP - Getty Images
Erin Leighton sips a coffee while seated next to a frost-covered window at a coffee shop, on Jan. 24, in Portland, Maine. An arctic cold front with sub-zero temperatures continues to grip the region. Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Tim Coulson, huntmaster at the Lauderdale Hunt, exercises hounds in the snow at Scarce Law on Jan. 21 in Lauder, Scotland. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Jan Matura of the Czech Republic flies over Sapporo City on his way to victory during day one of the FIS Men's Ski Jumping World Cup at Okurayama Jump Stadium on Jan. 19 in Sapporo, Japan. Adam Pretty / Getty Images
Japanese traditional wooden housesâ Gassho zukuri, are lit up in the snow-covered village of Shirakawa in Gifu prefecture, central Japan on Jan. 19. The Gassho zukuri farmhouses were listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1995, and the village will be illuminated until Feb. 16. Jiji Press / AFP - Getty Images
A Belarus Orthodox believer plunges into icy waters as a priest blesses him on the eve of the Epiphany holiday in Pilnitsa some 20 miles outside Minsk, on Jan. 18. Thousands of believers jumped into holes cut in ice, braving freezing temperatures, on Jan. 18 and early on Jan. 19 to mark Epiphany, when they take part in a baptism ceremony. Viktor Drachev / AFP - Getty Images
People share a sled as they take advantage of the snow covering the Bath Approach Golf Course besides Victoria Park on Jan. 18 in Bath, England. Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Sabine Conrad plays with her French sheepdog El Lobo in front of the snow covered skyline of Erfurt, central Germany, on Jan. 17. Jens Meyer / AP
Ruslan, 35, loads blocks of ice onto a truck outside Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha, northeast Russia, on Jan. 17. The coldest temperatures in the northern hemisphere have been recorded in Sakha, the location of the Oymyakon valley, where according to the United Kingdom Met Office a temperature of -90 degrees Fahrenheit was registered in 1933 - the coldest on record in the northern hemisphere since the beginning of the 20th century. Yet despite the harsh climate, people live in the valley, and the area is equipped with schools, a post office, a bank, and even an airport runway (albeit open only in the summer). Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Hoar frost forms on the branches of a shrub, on Jan. 16, in Spokane, Wash. Hoar frost ice crystals form on the ground or exposed objects on cold clear nights when objects become colder than the surrounding air. Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review via AP
Snow covered containers create a pattern in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Jan. 15. Most of Holland is covered by a thick white layer after one night of snow. Robin Utrecht / AFP - Getty Images
People cross a snow-covered bridge at the village of Bolton Abbey, northern England, on Jan. 14. Paul Ellis / AFP - Getty Images
Young Japanese women dressed in colorful kimonos walk through the Toshimaen Amusement Park in the snow, after attending a ceremony marking the 'Coming of Age Day' in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 14. The Coming of Age Day is a Japanese holiday held to celebrate young people who have reached the age of 20, the age of maturity in Japan, when they are legally permitted to smoke, drink alcohol and vote. Kiyoshi Ota / EPA
A bison bull shakes the fresh snow from its coat near Erlenmoos, Germany, on Jan. 14. Felix Kaestle / EPA
A Chinese couple use a sled on the frozen Houhai Lake in Beijing, on Jan. 12. The lake attracts scores of tourists and locals who use its frozen surface for skating, ice swimming and even exercising their dogs, despite winter temperatures of up to minus 0 Fahrenheit. Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
Members of a local winter swimming club warm up on a bank of the Yenisei River ahead of their weekly bathing session, while air temperatures stand at minus 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, in the town of Divnogorsk, outside Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, on Jan. 11. Ilya Naymushin / Reuters
An Ultra-Orthodox Jew wades through the snow next to the Old City walls in Jerusalem, during a snowstorm in the city, on Jan. 10. The Mideast region was gripped by a cold wave accompanied by heavy snowfalls. Abir Sultan / EPA
People watch as a killer whale surfaces through a small hole in the ice near Inukjuak, in Northern Quebec, on Jan. 8. Mayor Peter Inukpuk urged the Canadian government to send an icebreaker as soon as possible to crack open the ice and help the pod of about a dozen orcas find open water. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it is sending officials to assess the situation. Marina Lacasse / The Canadian Press via AP
Chrissy Bedrossian, rear, laughs as she spots her five-year-old Pomeranian-Corgi mix, Tucker, flying after her, while she sledded with granddaughter Madison Taylor, 3, foreground, and neighbor Angely Camilo, 7, all from Manchester, Conn., at the town's Center Park on Jan. 7. Jim Michaud / Journal Inquirer via AP
Water from a mountain stream runs through a snowy winter landscape, near Oberstdorf, Bavaria in Germany, on Jan. 6. Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / EPA
Anglers cast lines through holes into a frozen river, during an ice fishing competition at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival on Jan. 5, in Hwacheon-gun, South Korea. The annual event attracts thousands of visitors and features a mountain trout ice fishing competition, in which participants compete with tradition lures or with bare hands. Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
A Chinese couple dance at a pavilion in the snow, near a riverside in Tongxiang in east China's Zhejiang province, on Jan. 5. China is experiencing unusual chills this winter, with its national average temperature hitting the lowest in 28 years. Snow and ice have closed highways, canceled flights, stranded tourists and knocked out power in several provinces. AP
Ukrainians walk on a frozen water reservoir on the Dnieper River outside Kiev, Ukraine, on Jan. 2. The temperature in the Ukrainian capital was 28 degrees Fahrenheit on Jan. 2. Efrem Lukatsky / AP
Over 1,000 New Year's swimmers, many in costume, braved freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge, during the annual Loony Dook Swim on Jan. 1 in South Queensferry, Scotland. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
A cross-country skier makes his way through the foggy winter landscape near Oberstdorf, southern Germany, on Dec. 29. Lennart Preiss / dapd via AP
Ian Rone, 12, surprises Alena Byrn, 16, with a face-full of snow during a snowball fight in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 26. Memphis managed to avoid the heavy snow that blanketed much of Arkansas, but Overton Park was bustling with kids taking advantage of an almost white Christmas. Jim Weber / The Commercial Appeal via AP
Chandler Fescemeyer, 17, snowboards down a road in Pittsburgh, Pa., after a winter storm blanketed the Midwest with snow on Dec. 26. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images
Workers shape a snow sculpture prior to the annual Vasaloppet China Ski Festival at Jingyuetan Park in Changchun, Jilin province, on Dec. 25. According to local media, the festival kicked off on Jan. 2. China Daily via Reuters
A snow fight ensues among University of Wisconsin-Madison students on Bascom Hill in Madison, Wis., on Dec. 20. Michael P. King / Wisconsin State Journal via AP
A young couple share a tender moment braving the freezing outdoors at the Red Square in Moscow, on Dec. 20. Viktor Drachev / AFP - Getty Images
A resident clears snow from his driveway after an overnight snowfall left many schools and businesses closed on Dec. 20, in Urbandale, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall / AP
A worker puts sunglasses on the 20-foot-tall snow sculpture of South Korean rapper PSY for the upcoming Ice Festival in Harbin, in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Dec. 16. The city is preparing for its annual ice festival, where large blocks of ice are used to build a tourist attraction. AP
Visitors to Capilano Park look out at the pointed peaks of The Lions covered in snow, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 14. Andy Clark / Reuters
An aerial view on Dec. 16 of snow-covered Bhadarwah Valley, about 127 miles from Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India. Jaipal Singh / EPA
Frost lingers on trees surrounding a house near Wells on Dec. 12 in Somerset, England. Forecasters have warned that the UK could experience the coldest day of the year so far today, with temperatures dropping as low as 7*F, bringing widespread ice, harsh frosts and freezing fog. Travel disruption is expected with warnings for heavy snow in some parts of the country. Matt Cardy / Getty Images
A Chinese woman looks up as she exits from an underground tunnel as snow falls in Beijing on Dec. 12. China's capital city received small amounts of snow on Dec. 12 along with negative temperatures and more snow predicted in coming days. Andy Wong / AP
Austrian freeskier Mathias Haunholder makes a turn on a sunny winter day in the western Austrian ski resort on Sonnenkopf mountain in Langen am Arlberg on Dec. 12. Dominic Ebenbichler / Reuters
Choristers from Winchester Cathedral don ice-skates to enjoy the ice rink set up beside the cathedral on Dec. 11 in Winchester, England. Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Vehicles move on a snow-covered road after the season’s first snowfall near the northern hill town of Shimla, India, on Dec. 11. The snowfall is expected to trigger a rush of tourists to the area. Mainka Gill / AP
A commuter waits for a train on an early morning in Berlin after a snowfall on Dec. 10. Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images
People ski in Hofsgrund, Germany, on Dec. 9. Patrick Seeger / AFP - Getty Images
Nic rides a sled down a hill with his children Mischa and Janosch at a snow-covered park in Zehlendorf district on Dec. 9 in Berlin. Northeastern Germany was inundated with a heavy snowfall that covered highways and blanketed the region with snow. Sean Gallup / Getty Images
A person walks past an ice-covered tree in China's northeast Jilin province on Dec. 8. AFP - Getty Images
Mist covers the hills in Harzvorland, Germany on Dec. 8. Stefan Rampfel / AFP - Getty Images
A train of the Brocken Railway steams through a winter landscape with snow-covered pine trees as it approaches its destination on the Brocken mountain in the Harz mountainous region in Germany on Dec. 8. Stefan Rampfel / EPA
Tobias Wendl, front, and Tobias Arlt, both of Germany, speed down the ice channel during the doubles luge World Cup race in Altenberg, Germany, on Dec. 8. They won the competition. Jens Meyer / AP
Japanese macaque, commonly referred to as "snow monkeys," take an open-air hot spring bath (or "onsen"), at the Jigokudani (Hell's Valley) Monkey Park in the town of Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture, on Dec. 7. Some 160 of the monkeys inhabit the area and are a popular tourist draw. Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP - Getty Images
A parked car is covered with snow during a blizzard in Stockholm, Sweden, on Dec. 5. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP - Getty Images
A cyclist rides during heavy snowfall in Zeist, the Netherlands, on Dec. 3. Jeroen Jumelet / EPA
Horses jump through falling snow in Hambach/Diez, western Germany, on Dec. 3. Boris Roessler / AFP - Getty Images
The moon is about to set behind the mountains overlooking Untervaz, Switzerland, on Dec. 2, while the first warming beams of the morning sun cause mist to rise from the snow-covered Salaz alp. Arno Balzarini / EPA
Skiers ride a cable car above the fog on Titlis mountain above Engelberg, Central Switzerland, on Dec. 1. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images
Cross-country skiers ski on a track in the western Austrian village of Seefeld on Nov. 29, after the first snowfall of the season. Dominic Ebenbichler / Reuters
A biker rides in the Taunus mountain range in Germany on Nov. 28. Arne Dedert / AFP - Getty Images
Low clouds are seen over frost-covered trees in Idaho Springs, Colo., on Nov. 20. Justin Lane / EPA
Icicles form on a tree, as the afternoon sun melts the snow in Banff National Park near Lake Louise, Alberta, on Nov. 22. Andy Clark / Reuters