Strange Coastal Ice Pack is Causing a Hazard for Ships

A crab fishing boat trapped in the multiyear sea ice off the Newfoundland coast. (Credit: AGU/David G. Barber)

In spring 2017, the Canadian Coast Guard had to redirect its research icebreaker, CCGS Amundsen, off its scientific research course to perform search and rescue and ice escort activities off the coast of Newfoundland. The ice cover there is moving, and thick multiyear sea ice is transporting from its usual locations in the Lincoln Sea and Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the coast, presenting a danger for ships in those waters.

Research conducted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) examines this mobile sea ice from the angle of ship safety, finding that transported sea ice was subsequently compacted against the shoreline during March storms, where it remained solid into July and caused an unusual hazard.

During its reroute, Amundsen collected in situ geophysical and electromagnetic samples from three
ice floes to help scientists understand this “anomalous ice cover” and deduce the mechanisms behind the phenomenon.

You can download and read more of the paper published in Geophysical Research Letters at:

A drone image of the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen among sea ice off the Newfoundland coast. (Credit: AGU/David G. Barber)


Leave a Reply