satellite image
Satellite image of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Modified by Tina Riche from a black and white image courtesy of the Shoe Cove Satellite Station, Shoe Cove, Conception Bay, Newfoundland.

NOAA 6 satellite image, in the visible (red and green) waveband. Image obtained by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and acquired by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing.

Taken on the 11th March 1980 at 1136 GMT or 0806 NST (7:16 a.m. sun time in Western Labrador).

The photograph shows the late winter pack ice off the eastern coasts of Labrador and the island of Newfoundland.

The pack ice is generated within the region as landfast ice or new growth offshore, but incorporates varying amounts of ice from Baffin Bay, Hudson Strait and the high Arctic, some of which is multi-year ice. The movement of the pack is generally southward and landward under the control of the Labrador Current and the Coriolis force. Daily (and hourly) changes in the distribution and pattern of the ice, on the other hand, result from variability in the atmospheric controls, that is, wind direction and strength.

From the 2nd to the 8th of March the prevailing wind had been between westerly and southwesterly over much of Labrador and the island. As a result, the main pack had moved off the eastern coasts by the morning of the 11th, leaving a series of large open-water leads immediately offshore. The more compact windward (western) edge of the pack contrasts markedly with the diffuse, irregular and embayed, or "loose" condition of the leeward (eastern) edge, characterised by sea leads, polynyas, ice-tongues and open-water bights.

Considerable amounts of locally generated landfast ice remain along much of the Labrador Coast, especially north of Groswater Bay where the highly indented coast and numerous offshore islands encourage its persistence. Landfast ice has largely disappeared from the island's eastern and western coasts, reflecting the mild winter of 1979/80 in Newfoundland.

An open-water zone or 'lake' is also evident immediately off the west coast of the island, which can be attributed to southeasterly winds associated with high pressure along the east coast during the 24 hours immediately prior to the time of the photograph. Such a circulation would tend to force the inshore Gulf ice to retreat northwestward and off-shore. The same phenomenon on a smaller scale can be seen at the bottom left edge of the photograph. on the western side of Grindstone Island.

Further evidence of the mild winter is the fact that Gander and Grand Lakes are already clear of ice, although Lake Melville in Labrador is still blockaded.

The photograph also shows contrasts between snow-covered open areas-such as the 'caribou barrens' of the south coast of the island, the burnt-over area northeast of Gander, the Long Range Mountains, and the Labrador Coast- and the forested areas of the island's interior.

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