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Ice charts - East Greenland

Along the east coast of Greenland, the southbound East Greenland Current brings along huge quantities of polar ice in a large band likely to be up to several hundred kilometres wide.

North of Illoqqortoormiut (Scoresbysund), more than 80% of the sea surface is covered by ice almost year round.

South of Illoqqortoormiut on the contrary, the melt and spread of the ice within the ice-band lead to great seasonal variability in sea ice extent.

Due to this variability, and to seasonal differences in the needs for navigation at the east coast, the production of ice charts covering the East Greenland Waters is adjusted according to seasonal demand.

Sea ice conditions along the east coast are characterized by being more dynamic than in other parts of Greenland waters. Primarily, this is due to the constant ice movement which is induced by the East Greenland Current.

The ice in the ice-band east of Greenland is called "Storisen".

Every second, an average of 150.000 m3 of sea ice is transported through the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard. Typically, the ice going through the Fram Strait has taken five to six years to be formed in the Polar Sea and because of this, it is often several metres thick. While drifting southward along the coast, the ice breaks up into smaller floes. The size of the floes is, therefore, decreased from north to south. In wintertime, new ice is rapidly created in between floes. This is the reason why, “Storisen” is composed of both thin new ice and meter-thick multiyear ice.

As in all other parts of Greenland waters, icebergs are found along the east coast all year round.