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Ice charts - West Greenland

The sea ice west of Greenland is called the Greenland west ice.

When the west ice is at its maximum, it covers the majority of the Baffin Bay.

Navigation in the northernmost regions around Qaanaaq (Thule) is (most years) only possible from July-September while Aasiaat (Egedesminde) and Ilulissat (Jakobshavn) normally can be reached by ship from mid-May till mid-December. Production of the DMI ice charts covering West Greenland is, therefore, adjusted according to seasonal demand.

Unlike the sea ice east of Greenland (which consists mostly of ice formed in the Polar Sea that drifts southwards along the coast), the west ice is formed locally during winter. This is the reason why it is rare to observe more than a few types of sea ice at a time West of Greenland.

As in all other parts of Greenland waters, icebergs are found all year round.

In the area around Qeqertarsuaq (Disko), however, exceptionally large quantities of icebergs are very likely. This is due to the presence of some of the world's most productive glaciers in this particular region. Typically, these icebergs are transported northwards along the coast by the West Greenland Current. Afterwards, they drift towards the Canadian coast following a north facing curve, and finally they drift southwards with the Labrador Sea Current along the Canadian coast.