Jan
09
2009

What is a Growler and a Bergy Bit?

Iceberg off Greenland (photo by Wili Hybrid CC-BY)

Iceberg off Greenland (photo by Wili Hybrid CC-BY)

Growler and Bergy Bit are the two smallest size classifications for Icebergs and these can be the most dangerous to shipping as they are the most difficult to detect for they lay low in the water. Other iceberg names are rather less interesting.

Iceberg Size Classifications
Growler – less than 3 ft height, less than 16 ft long
Bergy Bit -3-13 ft height, 15-46 ft long
Small – 14-50 ft height, 47-200 long
Medium – 51-150 ft height, 201-400 long
Large – 151-240 ft height, 401-670 long
Very Large – Over 240 ft height, Over 670 long

Their shapes are also classified:
Tabular – steep sides and a flat top.
Non-Tabular – sub-divided into:
Dome: rounded top
Pinnacle: two or more spires,
Wedge: steep vertical side and a sloping side
Dry-Dock: slot or channel splitting the berg
Blocky: steep vertical sides

The above information comes from the International Ice Patrol website. The US Coastguard operates the International Ice Observation and Ice Patrol Service which was establish after the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912 when it collided with an iceberg.

The Service covers the areas where icebergs flow south into the North Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of Grand Banks and through which the major Atlantic shipping routes pass. A number of shipping nations contribute financially to the Service.

The Service mainly operates between February and July when the icebergs break off from the Arctic and flow south. Over 10,000 to 15,000 icebergs are calved each year, originating from 20 glaciers. The area covered by the Service is over 1/2 million square miles.

Primary reconnaissance work is carried out by aircraft with information also coming from other sources such as commercial shipping. All the data is plotted on a computer which then forecasts iceberg movements and the limit of the ice. An “Ice Bulletin” is broadcast from radio stations and can be downloaded on the internet.

Having seen the classifications, how would you classify the one in this photo?

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  Need research? Quezi's researchers can answer your questions at uclue.com

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