Ice tsunami, what is this dangerous climate phenomenon?

Ice tsunami, what is this dangerous climate phenomenon?

Ice jam, ice rush or ice tsunami are different names given to this unusual weather phenomenon that not many people know about. Like marine tsunamis, ice tsunamis can also be dangerous.

What is an ice tsunami?

Very common in polar regions subject to strong winds such as Alaska, ice tsunamis occur as an accumulation of ice pushed by currents from a sea or lake. These white mountains reach a height of about ten metres, and can be relatively powerful. The risk of ice tsunamis increases as spring approaches, when the ice is just beginning to thin and break up, creating gaps between different ice masses on the surface.

When strong winds blow, these huge blocks of ice rush towards the coast, forming large, thick waves that can turn into a real dam when they reach the shores. This phenomenon can be very dangerous when it occurs over several hours. Tsunami ice waves, capable of bringing down a bridge, can cause significant material damage.

France is affected by other weather phenomena

France is not particularly concerned about this type of unusual phenomenon, although it has already been observed in neighboring regions. In 2019, an ice tsunami was observed in Lake Joe, in the Jura Massif region. However, France is most affected by weather phenomena such as El Niño. This is an atmospheric and oceanic phenomenon that occurs periodically from 10 to 12 years in the Pacific Ocean.

Thus, ice tsunamis are more common in areas of the world characterized by harsh winters and the formation of ice on rivers. The regions most vulnerable to these phenomena include the Arctic, including Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia, as well as the northern regions of North America (Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba, and Ontario), and northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Europe). Russia), Siberia in Russia, and parts of northern Asia, including China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

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