A thousand icebergs drifted into shipping lanes in 2017

The US Coast Guard has said that 1,000 icebergs drifted into North Atlantic shipping lanes this year, making it, in theory, the fourth consecutive “extreme” ice season. At the USCG International Ice Patrol annual meeting in New London last week the US National Ice Center, as well as the Canadian Ice Service and the Danish Meteorological Institute, discussed the issue.

Ice Patrol leader Cmdr Kristen Serumgard said that the increase in drifting icebergs could be the result of retreating Greenland glaciers and storms breaking up significant amounts of sea ice. Specifically, 1,008 icebergs were detected in the shipping lanes, up from 687 icebergs last year. 

This year was the 19th most severe season since 1900. This year 22% of the icebergs spotted by the taskforce were found using satellites, compared with 2% of the icebergs recorded in 2016.