The International Ice Patrol (IIP) completed the 2017 Ice Season with the transfer of production of the North American Ice Service (NAIS) Iceberg Warning Products to the Canadian Ice Service as of Aug. 31, 2017.
During the 2017 season, 1,004 icebergs drifted into the transatlantic shipping lanes, a significant increase from the average of 485 icebergs, making 2017 the 19th most severe season since 1900 and the fourth consecutive extreme iceberg year. Over the course of the season, Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130J aircrews and IIP members deployed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada on nine iceberg reconnaissance detachments tracking icebergs along the east, south, and southwest areas of the Grand Banks.
In addition to traditional sources of surface vessel reports and commercial and Coast Guard aerial reconnaissance, 2017 was the first ice season during which IIP routinely processed and integrated satellite reconnaissance information into the iceberg database. Further, IIP developed a novel iceberg warning chart based solely on satellite imagery for the area north of the NAIS daily chart to support the Coast Guard Cutter Maple’s historic voyage through the Northwest Passage.
For the remainder of the year, while IIP expects minimal risk to transatlantic shipping due to iceberg hazards, the Canadian Ice Service will continue to produce the daily iceberg warning products until the start of the next IIP Ice Season in late January 2018.
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