Iceberg Forecasting and Ice Climatology


Since sea ice poses a major navigation hazard off Canada's east coast, it is important to have a complete picture of what constitutes normal ice conditions and extraordinary conditions. Many studies have produced climatological atlases of normal or mean ice conditions. This current study updates an atlas to 1998 that previously described interannual variability from 1963 to 1988 (Peterson and Prinsenberg, 1990). Data archives are now available from the Canadian Ice Service website.

Increased shipping traffic in iceberg-prone areas has necessitated long-range iceberg forecasting development. The relationship between southern ice extent and iceberg numbers on the Grand Banks has made it possible to derive a statistical model resulting in one and two month forecasts.

Data Collection

  1. ice concentrations on a 0.5° latitude by 1.0° longitude grid derived from weekly ice charts published by the Canadian Ice Service
  2. # of icebergs drifting south (International Ice Patrol)
  3. air temperature at Iqaluit, Cartwright, and St. John's (Altantic Climate Centre)
  4. surface wind from NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center



Related Projects

Related Publications

request a publication

  • Peterson I. 2005. "Large tabular icebergs and ice islands off eastern Canada in 2001-2003 and their probable source"
  • Peterson, I., S. J. Prinsenberg, M. Pittman, and L. Desjardins. 2009. "The drift of an exceptionally-large ice island from the Petermann Glacier "