Iceberg Sightings

This iceberg sightings database is a collection of over 105,000 iceberg records in the North Atlantic from the early 1800s to 1959 transcribed from a number of contemporary sources. Over 90% of these records came from the annual bulletins of the International Ice Patrol (IIP), 1914 . 1959, and the weekly Hydrographic Bulletins of the U.S. Hydrographic Office, 1889 . 1947 (published until 1954). The latter are held by the National Archives at College Park, Maryland in Record Group 287 and the work in photographing and transcribing the bulletins was funded in part by the National Science Foundation grant 0629500 administered by the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. Further records were obtained from a number of newspapers and shipping news publications the principal of which were Lloyd.s List and the New York Maritime Register. IIP records from 1960 are already in a digital format and can be accessed from the online archive of the IIP, and together with data from other sources, from the Canadian Program for Energy Research and Development (PERD) Iceberg Sightings Database.

The data are compiled in a number of Excel files (example in Figure 1), one for each year, in 38 columns, or fields, which are described in detail below. The iceberg records are not necessarily in chronological order. While the IIP numbering system is typically in chronological order records from other sources are numbered sequentially in the order of data entry. The format of the Excel sheets follow a template design to allow the data to be more easily incorporated into the PERD Iceberg Sightings Database in Microsoft Access. This is a comprehensive iceberg database with iceberg information from a variety of sources with emphasis on the modern post-1960 era. While pre-1960 information is also incorporated some information, particularly the names of the observing ship and any other ice information that may be of interest to other researchers is lost. For that reason, the Excel files with their original information are available on this web site. The PERD database has previous versions of the IOT iceberg records and it is expected that it will soon be updated with the current files.