Thursday, July 11, 2013


An iceberg cluster surrounds the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Ann Harvey on June 8, 2013, about 60 nautical miles east of Makkovik, Labrador. The coast guard says the largest iceberg cluster it has seen in recent years is drifting south off Labrador near the Strait of Belle Isle. 

July seems like a good time to think about icebergs. Remember the Peterman Ice Island ? About a 9 mi.² piece of ice became detached from the Petermann Glacier on Greenland and drifted southwards, calving smaller icebergs as it went. That was in 2010-2011 and problems with large ice fragments from the Glacier continued into 2012.

Now icebergs are in the news again - about 250 of them drifting southwards from Greenland, past Labrador and into the Strait of Belle Isle.

More icebergs are being reported than has been the case for many years, as many as 3 to 4 time more than in each of the last 5 years. It is thought that the large number of glaciers this year is attributable to those significant calving events of 2010 and 2012.

It usually takes three or more years for an iceberg to travel from Greenland to the Newfoundland coast. As you might expect, sea currents, air and water temperatures are all determining factors in the drifting and speed of travel of these unpredictable hazards to shipping. This year the icebergs are still quite far north as compared to other years, so not as many are being seen yet off NFLD. Possibly they will arrive just in time for tourist season this summer so folks who like those things can go out in tour boats for a visit.