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Iceberg Classification

The systems of iceberg classification were established by two principal iceberg monitoring organisations: the International Ice Patrol (IIP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The IIP, established in response to the Titanic disaster, is mainly concerned with iceberg proportions. The WMO's system is based principally on iceberg shape. Both systems are in widespread use.
International Ice Patrol System
Type
Freeboard (m)
Width (m)
Typical Mass (t)
Growler
<1.5
<5
10
Bergy bit
1.5–5
5–15
10⁴
Small iceberg
5–15
15–60
10⁵
Medium iceberg
15–50
60–120
10⁶
Large iceberg
50–100
120–220
10⁷
Very large iceberg
>100
>220
>10⁷
World Meteorological Organization System
Type
Freeboard (m)
Waterline Length (m)
Phys. Area Above Waterline (m²)
Relative Size
Mass (t)
Growler
<1
<10
<100
Grand piano
up to 120
Bergy bit
1-5
10-30
100-300
Small house
up to 5,400
Iceberg
>5
>30
300
Merchant ship
180,000
Further iceberg classification by size
Small
Height <16 m, length <65 m
Medium Height 16–48 m, length 65–130 m
Large Height 48–70 m, length 130–225 m
Very large Height >70 m, length >225 m
Additional iceberg classification by type
Tabular
(ice island)
Flat-topped iceberg, horizontal banding
Domed Iceberg with smooth and rounded top
Pinnacled Iceberg with central spire/pyramid, having one or more spires
Wedged Iceberg with flat top, one end with steep vertical sides and the other end sloping to lesser sides
Drydocked Iceberg with erosion giving it a U-shaped slot near/at water level, with twin columns/pinnacles
Blocky Iceberg with flat top and steep vertical sides

Notes

The freeboard is the height above the waterline.

Sources

Fequest, D. MANICE. Downsview, Ont.: Environment Canada, 2005.

Rees, W.G. Remote Sensing of Snow and Ice. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

Wadhams, P. Ice in the Ocean. Australia: Gordon and Breach, 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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