42: International Ice Patrol

42: International Ice Patrol

Brain Junk
42: International Ice Patrol

Learn a bit about the women and men of the IIP who monitor icebergs in the northern reaches of our Atlantic ocean.


International Ice Patrol Transcript:

AB: Welcome to Brain Junk. I’m Amy Barton.

TK with enthusiasm: And I’m Trace Kerr, and it’s time for a Brain Storm.

TK: Well I want to tell you about the IIP. The International Ice Patrol.

AB: That’s not what I thought it might stand for, but thank you.

TK knowledgeably: I know. You’re welcome. And it was founded in 1913 after the Titanic sank in 1912. And what their whole job is, is to keep track of icebergs in the north Atlantic.

AB with gravitas: That seems important. I’m on board with this.

TK definitively: Yes. except for the years of WWI and WWII they have been putting up planes and sending out ships in corroboration with 16 other countries to track, well somewhere about 10,000 icebergs in a season.

AB charmingly and engagingly: Wow!

TK : Yeah. Iceberg season is from February 1st to July 31st. So they’re out there off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, keeping track of these icebergs, telling people where they are, reporting it so that ships can avoid them and they have a record where every ship who has-I really like how they put this-”every ship that has followed our directives and advice on how to avoid icebergs has been just fine.

AB: I…that says there’s cautionary tales there.

TK: Yeah, there have been a few iceberg-ship interactions, but they are saying that all of those are from user error, not iceberg escape detectioning. I don’t think that’s actually a word, but I’m going to stick to it.

AB: I’m curious how much of that work is digital and satellite based versus live dudes on boats and ladies on boats.

TK: Well, they do a lot of it via airplane

AB: That makes sense.

TK: So they’re going up and they showed the pilots flying, but there’s a guy in back with a computer and they’ve got a map, and they’re looking out the window and they’re..

AB interrupting rudely: Battleship with icebergs?

TK: Yeah, they’re marking them down. Yeah, and there’s also a buoy system keeping track of currents and temperatures and things like that, it’s a huge interactive network.

AB: So presumably it can have some level of prediction of direction?

TK: Where they’re flowing, north to south, and how they’re going to be moved by the current, and where they’re going to be.

AB: I don’t ever hope to be on a boat in an area where an iceberg could to be, but I’m glad that boats are not as likely to sink as a result of the IIP. Thanks team!

TK: Yes. I am too. Thanks team! And that is a Brain Storm about ice. Welcome to winter.

AB with chagrin: Yeah.

AB: Want to hear more? We’re on Facebook and Instagram as BrainJunkPodcast and you can find us on Twitter as @MyBrainJunk. Trace and I will catch you next time when we share more of everything you never knew you wanted to know, and I guarantee you won’t be bored.


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