Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Sea Ice

It’s beautiful, glowing stuff. The light bends around its edges and in places appears to be coming from within. On the underside it is a gorgeous aquamarine. Many people curse it because it makes a long winter feel even longer. But if you choose your moment when the light is soft, or low in the sky, it is nature at its most radiant.

This is sea ice (also known as pack ice or drift ice) that forms in arctic waters and drifts south on the cold Labrador current each spring. It envelopes the coast of Labrador and the northeast coast of Newfoundland extending as much as 200 miles offshore. It is frozen sea water in contrast to icebergs which are frozen freshwater from the land. Newly formed sea ice is indeed salty but over time the salt leaches out and what remains is fresh enough to put in a rum and coke, my preferred winter libation.