Ice, and lots of it

Adam Randell
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Northern Peninsula and Labrador sealers will have more than their share of ice to work this season.

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The Strait of Belle Isle is chalked full and a large ice mass is moving along the eastern portion of the peninsula’s offshore.

Paul Veber, superintendent of ice operations for the Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Operations explains.


To the east

On the eastern side of the peninsula there’s heavy ice off Cape Bauld and Belle Isle, with fairly light ice conditions south of Hare Bay.

But 40 miles off, is the makings of a different story, where a large ice floe currently sits.

Veber says it measures from 120 to 150 miles in distance, with a thickness ranging from 70 to 120 centimetres.

“It’s fairly heavy ice and it’s fairly compacted. It’s tight ice conditions out that way,” Veber said.

“If we have strong north east winds for a couple of days, you’ll see an awful lot of ice on the north east coast.”

Looking at long-term temperatures, he sees no warming trend in the foreseeable future and expects a longer ice season than normally expected.


To the west

In the Strait of Belle Isle he’s expecting pretty much the same thing.

“The Gulf right down through the entire west coast of newfoundland and the north shore of Quebec is plugged full of ice, so it can’t really push its way down any farther,” he said. “So it’s limited to how quickly or slowly the ice flushes out of the Cabot Strait.”

Heavy ice has blocked the Strait of Belle Isle to the east, so it can’t escape through that route either.

“It’s pinned in, and it will remain there until things lighten up and there is a bit of give on either side for it to move.”

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard

Geographic location: Northern Peninsula, Cape Bauld, Belle Isle Hare Bay Quebec

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