Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Absence of ice iné gale in the St. Lawrence

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This would be the sixth time in nearly 150 years that the Saint-Laurent is therefore considered ice-free, says scientist Peter Galbraith.

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The year 2024 sets a new record. According to data collected by the Canadian Ice Service, which has been compiling information on frozen waters since 1969, this year records the lowest ice cover ever observed in the St. Lawrence.

The old record dates back to 2010. At that time, 11 km3 of ice covered the river and the gulf. This year, more like 6 km3 were recorded.

This is less than 10% of the surface area of ​​the St. Lawrence, which at its maximum, was glaciated [this winter], specifies Peter Galbraith, scientific researcher in physical oceanography at the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute.

These statistics come from the oceanographic survey carried out by the scientist. He says he collected data on the St. Lawrence from Île d'Orléans to Tadoussac, to the Strait of Belle Isle (between the west of the island of Newfoundland and eastern Labrador) and the Cabot Strait (between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia).

In 2024, a little Ice was seen in the areas of Sept-Îles, Anticosti, Chaleur Bay and the Northumberland Strait, between Prince Edward Island and the mainland.

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All this which is to the east, with the exception of the Strait of Belle Isle, has remained open water.

A quote from Peter Galbraith, oceanographic research scientist

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According to Peter Galbraith, this is the sixth time in 150 years that the St. Lawrence has been considered ice-free.

Mr. Galbraith points to the very warm air temperatures observed in recent months. According to him, from December 2023 to February 2024, the temperature was 2.9 degrees higher than the average of the last 30 years. The high point, February, was 3.7 degrees warmer than this average.

Water has never reached freezing point over a large expanse of the Gulf.

A quote from oceanographic research scientist Peter Galbraith

In his oceanographic survey that he recently carried out, Peter Galbraith reports that in several places in the St. Lawrence, the water was more than a degree above the freezing point of salt water.

Even if a large polar vortex were to appear, it would be too trivial to create a semblance of ice floe. This would not be enough to remove heat from the water and bring it to freezing point. For this winter, it's over. We will not have more ice formed, he adds.

This would be the sixth time in almost 150 years that the St. Lawrence is thus considered to be ice-free, says the scientist.

The deep waters of the St. Lawrence are not spared. Researcher Peter Galbraith says that over the past three years, temperatures have been higher in the area between 30 and 150 meters deep, the snow crab's habitat.

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It is very likely that in 2024, the temperatures recorded will be unparalleled, after ten years of record heat, predicts the UN. (Archive photo)

The scientist believes that this phenomenon is caused by the water temperature which never reached the freezing point during these winters.

This warming will have an impact in particular on the snow crab, a species which prefers colder waters to develop.

The year 2021 holds the record for the hottest water recorded. The water was slightly warmer in 2021 than observed this year. It was another one of our years that was almost ice-free, Mr. Galbraith adds.

Heat waves in the waters of the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence also marked 2023.

On Tuesday, the UN also indicated that it was very likely that in 2024 the temperatures recorded would be unprecedented, after ten years of record heat.

With the collaboration of Mathieu Berger and Shanelle Guérin

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