Where is Iceberg Alley?

Posted: August 6, 2019 by oldbrew in History, Natural Variation, sea ice

Iceberg alley [credit: U.S. Coast Guard]

On the day Belfast’s Harland & Wolff – famously the builders of the Titanic – goes bust (it seems), let’s look at a question posed by the U.S. Coast Guard…


The area we call “Iceberg Alley” is located about 250 miles east and southeast of the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Iceberg Alley is usually considered to be that portion of the Labrador Current, that flows southward from Flemish Pass, along the eastern edge of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, to the Tail of the Banks. This area extends approximately from 48 to 43 degrees North Latitude at 48 degrees West longitude. Icebergs and sea ice flowing south from Iceberg Alley created the Titanic disaster of 1912. This is the area of the ocean we patrol and monitor most carefully. [bold added]


What is the latitude and longitude for the Titanic?
Latitude: 41° 46′ North
Longitude: 50° 14′ West
Was Titanic’s last reported position when it sank.


(For a perhaps surprising comparison, the latitude of Italy’s capital Rome is almost the same.)

Wikipedia says:
Exceptionally dense fog is common where the cold Labrador Current merges with the warm Gulf Stream. By late winter, thick icebergs traverse the northern regions of this ecozone, from Greenland to Newfoundland. They have been feared by mariners for centuries, as well as being responsible for one of the deadliest disasters in maritime history, the sinking of the RMS Titanic. This resulted in the zone’s colloquial name “Iceberg Alley”.

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If ‘feared by mariners for centuries’ – how much, if anything, has changed in the last 100+ years?

Also from Wikipedia: 1912 United States cold wave

March 1912 was the second-coldest March on record for the contiguous U.S.
. . .
In the contiguous U.S., the average daily maximum temperature for 1912 was 61.97 °F (16.65 °C), which is the lowest ever recorded from 1895 through 2017.


The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on 15th April 1912 at the latitude of New Jersey (a degree or two south of Iceberg Alley).

Now mass tourism has caught on and Iceberg Alley is big business in the local area. But are things really much different than at times in the past?
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[Note: any bold type was added to the quoted text.]

  1. oldbrew says:

    Icebergs, Titanic, and crab cooking…