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People & Culture

Students on Ice: Not quite stuck in Iqaluit

  • Aug 02, 2012
  • 330 words
  • 2 minutes
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The ice is late this year.

Usually, Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern explains, ships start coming into
Iqaluit at the end of the first week of July, when the ice has cleared just enough for them to navigate without peril. This year, they were only able to make it in at around the third week of July. Geoff Green showed us a series of ice charts courtesy of the Canadian Ice Service tracking ice cover along the coast of Baffin Island in Nunavut. Though wind and currents are sweeping away some of the ice in much of Frobisher Bay, our ship, the Akademik Ioffe, needs help reaching Iqaluit. Geoff got a text message from the ship captain at 7:30 p.m. on Monday informing him that the Terry Fox, a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, is escorting it in. That’s the first time an SOI ship has needed an icebreaker escort.

In my mind, that’s a great introduction to the Arctic world, because it goes to show that ice rules up North. It dictates nearly every activity. Understanding how it forms, melts, morphs and reforms is key for hunting, traveling and survival. Predicting its behaviour is essential.

But ice cover is getting more difficult to predict. Just because there’s more ice this late in the season than in previous years, says Geoff, doesn’t necessarily mean the ice cover in the Arctic is increasing. Arctic residents have been reporting that the ice cover is getting thinner and less predictable every year, and our ice issues in Frobisher Bay may be a case in point.

On a lighter note, there’s a completely different form of ice causing a dilemma among the Students on Ice team. The students want to record a lip dub, and now it’s just a matter of choosing a song. One of the students is taking a survey, and so far Ice Ice Baby seems to be tied with the Discovery Channel song. I’m rooting for Vanilla Ice.


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