Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit August 01, 2012 - 1:01 pm

Storms, south-east winds pushed Davis Strait ice into Frobisher Bay

“The opening of the shipping route into Frobisher Bay has been delayed by three to four weeks”

SAMANTHA DAWSON
A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter flies an ice reconnaissance mission over Frobisher Bay on July 31.  The Canadian Coast Guard has been busy escorting several ships through the heavy ice pack in the bay.  (PHOTO COURTESY OF ENVIRONMENT CANADA)
A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter flies an ice reconnaissance mission over Frobisher Bay on July 31. The Canadian Coast Guard has been busy escorting several ships through the heavy ice pack in the bay. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ENVIRONMENT CANADA)

With huge chunks of ice washing into Iqaluit seemingly overnight, 2012 has become an unusual year for ice in Frobisher Bay, says Environment Canada. 

Starting in early July, storms were accompanied by several periods of strong south-easterly winds.

These pushed pack ice from Davis Strait towards the shore and into Frobisher Bay, Environment Canada spokesperson Mark Johnson said.

And that created the heavy ice jams which have caused misery for many sealift vessels.

The heavy ice has also made it hard for hunters and campers to get in and out of Iqaluit.

“The opening of the shipping route into Frobisher Bay has been delayed by three to four weeks,” said Johnson, adding that the forecast suggests the bay will be cleared of ice by the second week of August.

Generally, most of Frobisher Bay ice clears out by mid-July. By July 4, 2011, there was nary an ice floe to be found.

But heavy ice conditions were also observed in 2008 and in 2000 when most of the ice didn’t clear until July 26 and July 30.

In the Canadian Ice Service records, the latest date when Frobisher Bay became clear of ice remains Aug. 19, 1992.

This year’s healthy ice stock is a combination of leftover ice formed over the winter, as well as thicker ice that’s moved in from Davis Strait.

“Normal clearing over Frobisher Bay is related to strong northwesterly winds and moderate ice melt over the area, which hasn’t been the case this year,” Johnson said.

As well, there are a few icebergs in the area.

So mariners need to keep their eyes open for these, Johnson said.

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