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Old 25-06-2014, 11:32   #1
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North Atlantic Ice Hazards

I understand that ice is at a thirty year high in the Labrador Sea this year and that as a result the ice limit extends past normal boundaries.

I don't personally have any experience sailing with ice and would like to keep it that way. We are going transatlantic in a couple weeks and I wonder if anyone would care to offer insight into managing this otherwise unknown-to-me factor?

I have attached a copy of today's Ice Patrol Chart which shows the southeastern limit extending practically all the way to 40N and 40W, outside the convergence zone of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current. Also I have attached a seawater temperature map for reference.

I have been watching the ice limit for a while now and it is seems like it is getting bigger and more spread out at a time when I would have hoped it would be shrinking due to warmer weather.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 25-06-2014, 16:55   #2
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Delancey,

If the departure date is firm, then I guess you'd want to stay south of 42 deg. north, till you're past the eastern edge of it. However, the individual sightings look fairly well spread out, and with 2 more weeks warming, might be okay by then. Keep on doing your Hot Spell Dance!

Good luck with it.

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Old 25-06-2014, 17:06   #3
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

It has been warm. I just finished a fishing trip and heard no reports of ice. We were not that far north, but if it was a major problem there would be talk. I wouldnt worry too much at all.
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Old 25-06-2014, 17:29   #4
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

I'm only asking because frankly, I don't know. It's beyond my scope of knowledge and I have no experience with Ice Patrol Charts or understanding of how to interpret their meaning.

For what it's worth, here is last year's chart for this day which shows the ice limit a full eight degrees of latitude north and at least ten degrees longitude west of where it is today.

Without knowing any better it would seem to me like a considerable difference.

Not sure how wide we should allow for clearance before we turn north, our destination being England, but if we left today it would think we want to head to 40N 40W, practically all the way to the Azores, before turning north.
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Old 25-06-2014, 17:56   #5
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

You may want to head to the Azores anyway. But it doesn't look like the Azores High has developed yet.

Stay outside of the ice chart boundaries. Even growler can ruin your day.

Download the earth wind map and keep an eye on how the surface winds are doing in the N. Atlantic. There has been a progression of lows marching across from Newfoundland all winter and it looks like they are still doing it. I don't know if you have considered a weather router's services or not but now is a great time to start checking out weather maps and satellite images of the N.Atlantic.
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Old 25-06-2014, 18:06   #6
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

I have been watching the Earth Wind Map for some time now, a great resource. The sea surface temperature image was taken from there today.

Despite watching the weather for several months, I only recently figured out it is a bad year for ice.

I had previously looked at last years ice charts for July which showed it well to the north so had figured it was a non-issue.

However, to me it looks like it may well extend past the maximum limits indicated on the pilot charts for July.
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Old 26-06-2014, 16:47   #7
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Two days later the boundary has moved slightly eastward and a whole degree south. Who knew watching ice melt could be so much fun!
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Old 26-06-2014, 17:12   #8
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

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You may want to head to the Azores anyway.
Regardless of specific route planning, my interest in the ice boundaries comes from a concern that they potentially represent a lee shore in the middle of the ocean. Maybe icebergs would make for some pretty sunset photos in ideal conditions, maybe not so ideal photos in less than favorable conditions?

If I understand correctly, the data on the Ice Patrol Charts is based off of radar, and the ice boundaries are provided with the caveat that ice may exist outside of the boundaries.

Once again, I just don't know. It's not something I have ever had the occasion to consider before. How many is too many? Seems like just one could give you a bad day.
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Old 26-06-2014, 17:45   #9
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http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/Prod20/p...=11091&Lang=en

Canadian ice service has constantly updated date for east coast of Canada and the straights of Labrador (ice burg alley).
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Old 26-06-2014, 17:57   #10
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Yes. I have been accessing the the same basic data through the North Atlantic Ice Service.

I link below to their webpage which includes an archive of Ice Patrol Charts for those interested.

Ice Patrol Charts & Chart Archives
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Old 26-06-2014, 18:52   #11
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

If they still do it like they did the USCG flies c130's out of St. John's, NL to map the ice boundaries. The flights are/were highly dependent on weather and the ability to see through the sea fog.

From my limited experience the bergs in open water tend to break up/ disintegrate leaving growlers and bergs bits to their lee. These smaller bits are more problematic because they don't show up very well on radar. The big bergs show up pretty well, the debris fields not so much.

Yet, one berg per square is low distribution. You chances of seeing one are very small.

Here is a image of my chart plotter showing two bergs, one north and one south south west. These are big bergs and I stayed about a half mile away from them. They were very visible to the naked eye in daylight. I don't know if these guys had debris fields, if they did I didn't see them.
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Old 26-06-2014, 19:30   #12
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Thanks for sharing. I can see your position, what time of year were you there? And did you go further north or east from there?
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Old 26-06-2014, 19:42   #13
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

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From my limited experience the bergs in open water tend to break up/ disintegrate leaving growlers and bergs bits to their lee.
Is this because the bigger bits have a deeper draft and are therefore less influenced by wind-influenced surface water than the smaller bits closer to the surface?
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Old 27-06-2014, 04:36   #14
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Mid June IIIRC. That day I made Battle Harbor after a boisterous run. I had intentions of going to Greenland, but once I hit the Labrador current things got cold, and there were a lot of grounded bergs leaving disassociated debris fields. I chickened out. I could have gotten to Greenland easy enough. Getting back would have been a trick. I was solo in the 44.

From Battle Harbor I circumnavigated the island and thorn back to Delaware.

As to why the debris fields work the way they do, I don't right know, but I think your description is as good as any I have.

Even in the 44 with 1/4" plate I have no desire to hit a bergy bit or growler. Once you see them up close you get a new appreciation.
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Old 27-06-2014, 13:35   #15
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Re: North Atlantic Ice Hazards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I have been watching the Earth Wind Map for some time now, a great resource. The sea surface temperature image was taken from there today.

Despite watching the weather for several months, I only recently figured out it is a bad year for ice.

I had previously looked at last years ice charts for July which showed it well to the north so had figured it was a non-issue.

However, to me it looks like it may well extend past the maximum limits indicated on the pilot charts for July.
Umm me too.

I'm planning on leaving Gloucester, Mass on or after 19 july.
I had hoped to get north, Ideally Norway, via Iceland, Faeroes, etc,
then was settling on No Iceland, but hopefully Scotland or Ireland.

now, I am resigned to going to the Azores. Thanks for last years map, just confirms it's not a great year. Also, warming weather does not necessarily mean less Ice bergs. Just means they will melt faster.

Lastly, The Jimmy Cornell book has cautioned about going north of 40N, before one is east of 40W, check out his words an route AN141, fog and Ice are an issue on the great circle route and both are related to the cold Labrador current.

keep in touch
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