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Data Set ID:
G00874

International Ice Patrol Iceberg Drift Tracks, Version 1

The International Ice Patrol (IIP) tracks, plots, and predicts iceberg positions in the North Atlantic Ocean. The IIP area of responsibility is 40 to 52 degrees North, 39 to 57 degrees West. During several years (1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1989) individual icebergs were tagged with buoys developed by the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center. The motion of the icebergs bearing the USCG buoys were then tracked via satellite. Observation periods range from one week to two years depending on the buoy. The data are stored in the National Oceanographic Data Center format for drifting buoys (format number 156).

Geographic Coverage

Parameter(s):
  • Sea Ice > Icebergs
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 52, S: 40, E: -39, W: -57

Spatial Resolution:
  • Varies
Temporal Coverage:
  • 25 February 1977 to 24 July 1989
Temporal Resolution: Varies
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Platform(s) BUOYS
Sensor(s): GPS
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): National Snow and Ice Data Center (comp.).
Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

National Snow and Ice Data Center (comp.). 1995. International Ice Patrol Iceberg Drift Tracks, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7265/N52Z13FD. [Date Accessed].

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Overview

Ships transiting between Europe and east coast ports of Canada and the US traverse a great circle route that brings them into the vicinity of icebergs carried south by the cold Labrador Current near the Grand Banks. It was here that the R.M.S. TITANIC sank in 1912, after it struck an iceberg. This disaster resulted in the loss of 1517 lives and led directly to the founding of the IIP in 1914. The mission of the IIP is to monitor iceberg danger near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and provide the limits of all known ice to the maritime community. The IIP does this by sighting icebergs (primarily through airborne Coast Guard reconnaissance missions), plotting and predicting iceberg drift using a model, and, every 12 hours during the ice season, estimating the "limit of all known ice”. This limit, along with a few of the more critical predicted iceberg locations, is broadcast by radio stations and made available on line as an "Ice Bulletin". Twice daily, a radio facsimile chart of the area, depicting the limits of all known ice, is broadcast. The IIP broadcasts its products during the time of year that icebergs threaten shipping. This varies, but usually begins in February and ends in July.

NSIDC archives this data set for the IIP. Other products, including a scientific reports bibliography and iceberg limit climatology, are available on the IIP Web site.

Detailed Data Description

Each file contains the data for an individual buoy deployed and tracked by the U.S. Coast Guard (Table 1).

Note that the deployment time in the data file itself may not match the deployment time contained in the references. The deployment time in the references is the actual time the buoy was deployed by the Coast Guard. The initial time in the data file is the first valid data record after the buoy was deployed on an iceberg. Additionally, the header records for buoys 00050 and 2611 contained an error in the deployment date and location. This error, caused by a software problem at IIP, was corrected at NSIDC to properly reflect the first data record, based on information received from IIP.

Buoy 2575, contained in file 02575.ndc, was initially deployed on iceberg in August of 1980. This iceberg never moved from this initial position. The buoy was retrieved by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Westwind in July of 1981 and the buoy was subsequently redeployed to a new iceberg in August of 1981.

Table 1. Buoy Numbers and Deployment Dates
File Contains the data for a buoy deployed in:
00160.ndc

February 1977

01567.ndc

February 1977

00050.ndc

January 1978

01344.ndc

January 1978

01568.ndc

January 1978

00066.ndc

February 1978

01372.ndc

February 1978

02575.ndc

August 1980

02576.ndc

August 1980

02577.ndc

August 1980

02578.ndc

August 1980

02579.ndc

August 1980

25800.ndc

August 1980

02611.ndc

March 1983

02618.ndc

March 1983

02625.ndc

March 1983

02612.ndc

March 1989

04500.ndc

March 1989

04504.ndc

June 1989

25809.ndc

June 1989

Parameters

Iceberg position

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Format

Each file is in ASCII text format and contains the following data records in accordance with the NODC data format for drifting buoy data, format number F156. See Sample Data record below.

Table 2. Header Record Content
Header Record Start Length
NODC File Number: Always 156 1 3
NODC track number: Blank field 4 6
Record Number: Always 'A' for the header record 10 1
Drogue Number: The drogue or buoy number 11 5
Drogue Type: Always ARGOS 16 5
Principal Investigator 21 15
Institution or Agency 36 15
Platform Name: Blank field 51 12
Buoy Number: Always 00000 63 5

Table 3. Launch Summary Record Content
Launch Summary Record Start Length
NODC File Number: Always 156 1 3
NODC track number: Blank field 4 6
Record Number: Always 'B' for launch summary 10 1
Drogue Number: The drogue or buoy number 11 5
Launch Position: Deployment position - Latitude: (DDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 16 6
Latitude Hemisphere: Always 'N' 22 1
Longitude: (DDDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 23 7
Longitude Hemisphere: Always 'W' 30 1
End position: The last valid data position - Latitude: (DDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 31 6
Latitude Hemisphere: Always 'N' 37 1
Longitude: (DDDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 38 7
Longitude Hemisphere: Always 'W' 45 1
Launch Date: YYMMDD (GMT) 46 6
Launch Time: HHMM (GMT) 52 4
End Date: YYMMDD (GMT) 56 6
End Time: HHMM (GMT) 62 4
Drogue Depth: N/A 66 4

Table 4. Date Record Content
Date Record Start Length
NODC File Number: Always 156 1 3
NODC track number: Blank field 4 6
Record Number: Always 'C' for data 10 1
Drogue Number: The drogue or buoy number 11 5
Observed Position: Deployment position - Latitude: (DDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 16 6
Latitude Hemisphere: Always 'N' 22 1 - Longitude: (DDDMMSS) Degrees Minutes Seconds 23 7
Longitude Hemisphere: Always 'W' 30 1
Observed Date: YYMMDD (GMT) 31 6
Observed Time: HHMM (GMT) 37 4
Surface Temperature: Always 000 41 3
Sequence Number: Observation number in ascending order 77 4

Table 5. Text Record Content
Text Record Start Length
NODC File Number: Always 156 1 3
NODC track number: Blank field 4 6
Record Number: Always 'T' 10 1
Drogue Number: The drogue or buoy number 11 5
Text Record: Comments 16 61
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Sample Data Record
Sample Header Record
156      A00066TIROSR. Q. ROBE     USCG R&D CENTER            00000   
Sample Launch Summary Record
156      B00066625736N0625100W621347N0650000W78020813527809010800N/A 
Sample Date Record
156      C00066625736N0625100W7802081352000                                 0001
156      C00066630000N0625211W7802090428000                                 0002
156      C00066625811N0624947W7802090803000                                 0003
156      C00066625847N0625211W7802091314000                                 0004
156      C00066625811N0624947W7802100907000                                 0005
Sample Text Record
156      T00066 THIS BUOY WAS DEPLOYED ON A BERG THAT WAS 300M LONG AND     0496
156      T00066 30-40M HIGH. REF: ROBE, R.Q. AND D.C. MAIER, 1979, LONG-    0497
156      T00066 TERM TRACKING OF ARTIC ICEBERGS REPORT CG-D-36-79. REPORT   0498
156      T00066 CAN BE ACQUIRED USING U.S. NTIS GOVT ACCESSION # ADA072473. 0499
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File Size

The entire data set is 2.98 MB.

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Software and Tools

A FORTRAN routine is included with the data. The FORTRAN routine, read_drifter.f, was developed on an SGI running IRIX 4.0.1 and is intended as a template only and should be updated by the user for the appropriate operating system. 

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data were acquired by tracking drifting buoys via satellite.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Don Murphy
IIP, Groton, CT 06340-6095

Acknowledgments: 

This data set is maintained at NSIDC with support from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center.

Document Information

Document Authors

NSIDC Technical Writers

Document Creation Date

1995

Document Revision Date

In July 2006, this document was reformatted. F. Fetterer reviewed this document.

No technical references available for this data set.
No FAQs or How Tos available for this data set.

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