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Why Does The US Army Have The World’s Largest Iceberg Tracking Agency?

In the 1940s, the Americans had a plan to create an airfield on ice, but this is not the reason they continue to operate an ice-monitoring agency today.

U.S. Navy (USN) ice analyst Katherine Quinn is conducting routine inspections of two new icebergs that broke off from iceberg A-74 in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica.

Two US Coast Guard (USCG) divers prepare to dive in Antarctica in 2020.

The larger A-74A iceberg is 28 nautical miles wide and 18 nautical miles long, while the smaller A-74B iceberg is 9 nautical miles long and 4 nautical miles wide – about the same length and half the diameter of Washington D.C. DC of America.

Quinn’s work raises the question of why is the USN so interested in how the ice sheets “bottom” of the globe and has an agency dedicated to tracking it?

The United States National Ice Center affiliated with USN’s Oceanographic and Meteorological Command based in Suitland, Maryland is currently the only entity monitoring the movement and formation of ice sheets globally – and they have been active since World War 2.

A USCG vessel during Antarctic ice breaking in early 2022.

In the 1940s, the Americans hatched a plan to create an airfield on ice, but that fictional weapon did not materialize – and in the present they continue to follow the process of forming the rocks. icebergs and their other movements.

Ms. Katherine Quinn explained the reason the Center continues to work is to provide information to military ships, research ships – to plan operations:

“If a ship, whether it’s a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), a USN, or a research vessel – is going somewhere, they might ask: ‘This is where we’re going. Can you give What information do you give us?'”.

In addition to monitoring ice formation and forecasting, analysts from the center are also deployed on USCG icebreakers to conduct research and provide crews with information.

Russia’s Arktika nuclear icebreaker is said to be the largest of its kind worldwide.

There is, however, a much more important reason why the center is needed.

It involves top USN and USCG officials repeatedly talking about how newly opened sea lanes in the Arctic are “changing the national security landscape and creating a new global competition”.