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Sea temps higher than normal

Forecasters with the Canadian Coast Guard are expecting a lighter than normal year for ice off the East Coast.

Forecasters with the Canadian Coast Guard are expecting a lighter than normal year for ice off the East Coast.

Water temperatures in the region are one to 2.5 degrees above normal, acting Supt. Fergus Francey said at a briefing yesterday.

Francey said they cannot predict how much lighter ice cover will be in the major shipping lanes, or the region’s large bays and straits, because of anomalies including cold snaps or thaws.

“Normally, we know that ice will form and should stay formed up until the end of February, providing we don’t have a warming trend,” he said.

“After that, any ice that forms in the night usually doesn’t last the daytime because the sun’s too strong.”

In a bad year, the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence is usually covered with ice that averages one to two metres in thickness.

Francey said he has seen it thicker in places.

“I’ve been out there and I’ve seen ridges up to six metres in thickness,” he said.

“With that much ice, if you have any wind from any direction it will cause additional pressure and that’s really what causes ships to get beset.”

 
 
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