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Ice cover on Baltic Sea at widest extent since 1987

Alla Petrova, BC, Riga, 25.02.2011.Print version
The ice cover on the Baltic Sea is now at it widest extent since 1987, and it is expected to freeze over even more, according to Finnish meteorologists. Furthermore, warmer temperatures and high winds in coming weeks are likely to create pack ice and further problems for shipping.

According to the meteorologist from Finnish news portal YLE, Toni Hellinen, the extent of the ice cover now being seen on the Baltic Sea is relatively rare, writes LETA.


"It was actually last in 1987 that there was such extensive ice cover, only about once every quarter of a century is there such widespread ice. In terms of statistics we could say that the situation is rare," says Hellinen.


The Finnish marine research vessel ''Aranda'' set out to investigate ice conditions earlier this week. Onboard, Jari Haapala, a special researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, told YLE that there is a wide variation in the thickness of the ice.


"There is quite a lot of ice, from a few centimeters to 20 meters. The thickest ice cover is in places where ice shelves have piled up on each other and formed walls of pack ice," explains Haapala.


"Spring winds and warmer temperatures will make them start moving and they will end up somewhere,'' he added.


Hellinen says that this could happen soon.


"Over the next few days, winds will be increasing in strength, so some of the ice cover will break up soon. Quite high winds are in the forecast, especially this weekend," says Hellinen.

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