The ice below the water is dangerous to ships. The sharp, hidden ice can easily tear a hole in the bottom of a ship.
A particularly treacherous part of the North Atlantic has come to be known as Iceberg Alley because of the high number of icebergs that find their way there. Iceberg Alley is located 250 miles east and southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
In 1912, the Titanic, a large British ocean liner on its way to New York, struck an iceberg and sank in Iceberg Alley. More than 1,500 people drowned. Soon after the Titanic sank, an International Ice Patrol was established to track icebergs and warn ships. That patrol continues today.
Iceberg patrols now use global positioning system (GPS) technology to help locate icebergs and prevent more tragedies like the Titanic.
In 1999, the National Ice Center lost track of an iceberg the size of Rhode Island. It was found drifting toward the Drake Passage, an important shipping route south of Argentina.
Dr David Long of NASA’s SeaWinds science team used satellite data to track the iceberg, the first time satellite technology was used for that purpose.
Since that time, the SeaWinds team has used satellites to track the world’s ice.