Icebergs - International Ice Patrol
Basic Project Information
The U.S. Coast Guard formally operates the International Ice Patrol (IIP) by promoting safe navigation of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean where the danger of iceberg collisions exist.
The IIP monitors iceberg danger near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and provides the limits of all known ice to the maritime community.
The vision is to eliminate the risk of iceberg collision.
The U.S. Coast Guard formally begins its seasonal ice observation and Ice Patrol service whenever icebergs threaten primary shipping routes between Europe and the U.S. and Canada. This usually occurs in the month of February and the threat usually extends through July, but the Ice Patrol is flexible and commences operations when iceberg conditions dictate. The activities of the International Ice Patrol are delineated by treaty and U.S. law to encompass only those ice regions of the North Atlantic Ocean through which the major trans-Atlantic tracks pass. Fixed wing Coast Guard aircraft conduct the primary reconnaissance work for the Ice Patrol. Ice reconnaissance flights are made on the average of five days every other week during the ice season. The usual patrol time for these long range multi-engine planes is between 5 to 7 hours, with each flight covering an expanse of water of 30,000 square miles or more. Information concerning ice conditions is collected primarily from air surveillance flights and ships operating in or passing through the ice area. Ships are requested to report the position and time of all ice sighted and make sea surface temperature and weather reports to the International Ice Patrol Operations Center in Groton, CT, every 6 hours when in the vicinity of the Grand Banks. All the iceberg data are fed into a computer model at the IIP Operations Center along with ocean current and wind data. Using this information, the model predicts the drift of the icebergs. Every 12 hours, the predicted iceberg locations are used to estimate the limit of all known ice. This limit, along with a few of the more critical predicted iceberg locations, is broadcast as an "Ice Bulletin" from radio stations around the U.S., Canada, Europe and over the World Wide Web.