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OUT OF THIS WORLD | Earth, Space and Everything In-Between - a daily journey through weather, space and science with meteorologist/science writer Scott Sutherland

Where are the icebergs this year? Season off to a slow start

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Friday, April 13, 2018, 7:18 PM - Iceberg season looks to be off to a very slow start in 2018, but the number of sightings could pick up significantly in the weeks to come. Have you seen any yet?

The waters off the coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador are seeing fewer icebergs than normal, so far this spring, signalling a slow start to the season this year.

"This year so far, is shaping up to be a much lighter season than normal," said Cmdr Kristen Serumgard, the International Ice Patrol's Commanding Officer.

"Typically, at the end of march, we'll have about 85 icebergs south of 48oN, which is where they start to impact the shipping lanes," Commander Serumgard explained. "This year we've only had up to 55, so it's a significantly lighter year."

For Bob Currie, the Captain and Tour Guide for Discovery Sea Adventure Tours, in Bonavista, NL, he saw his first iceberg of the season, off the northern tip of the Bonavista Peninsula, on April 8.

According to Currie, the season has definitely been slow to start this year, especially compared with last year, and the year before, when icebergs were floating through the region much earlier than normal.

Related Video: See just some of the immense icebergs Bob Currie has captured over the years, including one that looks like a fisherman wearing a sou'wester hat.

With tours already booked for the end of April, Currie is confident they will still see a good season off the Bonavista Peninsula this year. The season there typically peaks in May, and lasts until early to mid-July.

The latest International Ice Patrol forecast, issued April 11, says that a total of 59 icebergs have been sighted south of 48oN as of April 10, which adds only another four bergs to what was reported by Cmdr Serumgard for the end of March. By the end of April, the report states, an average of 216 icebergs are seen south of 48oN, based on over 100 years of records kept by the Ice Patrol.

So, there is a long way to go, just to reach the average!

With plenty of sea ice floating down the coastline, there are bound to be icebergs trapped in within, which will become more apparent as the sea ice melts away in the weeks to come.

Iceberg Alley courtesy NASA's Terra polar-orbiting satellite, on April 12, 2018. Credit: NASA Worldview

Iceberg season along the entire Newfoundland and Labrador coastline typically runs from March through August, with the peak of the season being in May and June. The duration and peak vary based on location, though. Along the Labrador coast, the season runs longer and the peak is in June. The farther east you go, the shorter the season is, and the earlier the peak occurs.

Sources: International Ice Patrol | Canadian Ice Service | Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Watch Below: Newfoundland iceberg in distance gets pummeled by waves, see it

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