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International Ice Patrol Oceanography

Since the earliest days of its history, Ice Patrol recognized that knowledge of the ocean and atmospheric conditions in the western North Atlantic Ocean would be essential to its success. The crews of the first Ice Patrol vessels were directed to study the ice, currents, etc., “in short, to gather all sorts of information that might help the navigator in those regions.” (1914 IIP Annual Report)

They found a complex and challenging physical environment characterized by strong and variable ocean currents, persistent fog, and ferocious winter storms. This section describes the basic oceanographic and weather conditions near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, provides a brief historical perspective, and links to several key oceanographic resources.


Buoy Drop from USCG CG-130 Aircraft during Iceberg Reconnaissance.