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Ice Floes Flow Along

Ice floes are frozen masses of seawater (saltwater) that float on the surface of the sea. The term is applied to any relatively flat piece of sea ice that is free moving - unlike pack ice.

The tracking of ice floes is important to both understanding critical environmental issues such as global warming, and to aid in Arctic navigation.

Floes can be quite small or extremely large, and are termed according to horizontal size as follows:
Click for more information.     •  Giant: Over 10 km / 6 miles across.
    •  Vast: 2-10 km / 1-6 miles across.
    •  Big: 500-2000 meters / 1640-6500 feet across.
    •  Medium: 100-500 meters / 330-1640 feet across.
    •  Small: 20 -100m / 65-330 feet across.

The ice forms outward from the land during winter, and each spring, Arctic hunters like to venture out onto the ice. The ice or floe edge - where the ice meets open water - is the best location for hunting and fishing.

It is also the most dynamic and dangerous place to be in the spring, and each year, unsuspecting people are set adrift as the ice fractures and large ice floes float out to sea. This often happens in weather conditions that make air searches and rescue efforts difficult or impossible.

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Library: Ice, Inuit, Health/Safety, Arctic
Links: Signals/Codes, Arctic
News Story: Warning Signs in the Arctic
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports


Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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