6 January 2022

Forecast for 2022 Iceberg Season off Newfoundland, Canada

The latest forecast, by a team including Professor Grant Bigg and Jennifer Ross, predicts a medium iceberg year.

An iceberg in the north west Atlantic

By Grant R. Bigg & Jennifer B. Ross


  • The WERR control systems model predicts a medium iceberg year, of 413±111 icebergs past 48°N by August 2022.
  • The machine learning aspect also predicts a medium year.
  • Additionally, the machine learning tools predict a low rate of change and a single peak in iceberg numbers in April.
  • The combined 2022 iceberg forecast is therefore for a medium iceberg year.

The monthly cumulative totals can be seen in Figure 1, along with the average iceberg numbers for the last 10 and 50 years. It can be seen that while the WERR forecast is for a medium iceberg year, it is on the lower end of medium, far below the 10 and 50 year averages.

The Plot of the 2022 iceberg forecast, including the average number of icebergs past 48°N by August in the last 10 and 50 years

Figure 1. Plot of the 2022 iceberg forecast, including the average number of icebergs past 48°N by August in the last 10 and 50 years.

The forecast for each of the machine learning models for the four prediction aspects can be seen in Table 1. In table format, for I48N and the RoC (rate of change), ‘0’ represents a low year, ‘1’ a medium year, and ‘2’ and high year. For the Peak Month prediction, there are 4 potential outputs, aligning with ‘0’ January-March, ‘1’ April, ‘2’ May and ‘3’ June or later. These months have been chosen because April or May is historically the peak month in iceberg numbers passing 48°N. For the number of peaks prediction there are only two options: ‘1’ peak or ‘2’ multiple peaks.

Table 1. 2022 Machine Learning Model Predictions.

I48N

RoC

Peak Month

No. of Peaks

Linear Discriminant

2

1

1

1

Linear SVM

1

0

1

1

Quadratic SVM

0

0

1

1

Overall, while the combined forecast is for a medium iceberg year, the WERR model suggests that total iceberg numbers will be on the lower side of a medium year. Additionally, the variability in the machine learning I48N prediction reflects the complexity of iceberg prediction in the Newfoundland region, however the selected forecast of [1,0,1,1] (a medium iceberg year, with a low rate of change, and one peak in April) is a scenario that aligns with the WERR prediction. 

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