A record warm Arctic winter has spawned a tourism boom in a tiny Canadian town.
Sightseers and selfie-snappers are flocking to Ferryland, Newfoundland, to watch enormous icebergs drift off the Southern Shore.
The town of 500 residents has seen bumper-to-bumper traffic in recent days. Its two lone restaurants would theoretically be packed — that is, if they opened before late May, when the tourism season normally begins, CBC reported.
— CBC NL (@CBCNL) April 18, 2017
Nearly 650 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic as of this week, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol. That's about triple the number of icebergs this region sees during this period.
The unusually large swarm is blocking shipping lanes, forcing vessels to slow down or take long detours. Coast Guard commander Gabrielle McGrath, who leads the ice patrol, told the Associated Press she has never seen such a drastic increase in such a short time.
Most of the icebergs bobbing in the North Atlantic broke off the Greenland ice sheet.
Experts have attributed the influx of ice to a combination of uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds, which are drawing icebergs south, and, to some extent, global warming, which is melting land and sea ice across the Arctic.
— Ray Mackey Photo (@RayMackeyNL) April 13, 2017
— Jared Clarke (@birdtherock) April 15, 2017
The Arctic has experienced a strange winter. March 2017 became the sixth month in a row to set a record for the lowest sea ice extent, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported.
And, for the third year in a row, Arctic sea ice peaked at a record low level during the winter season.
Image: national oceanic and atmospheric administration
In Ferryland, the relatively warm winter and shifting winds have resulted in some pretty spectacular sights.
An enormous iceberg is now towering over the small town. The Canadian Ice Service has classified it as "large," meaning it spans between 401 and 670 feet long and rises between 151 and 240 feet high.
The giant ice block drew the most attention over Easter weekend. Tourists and news crews came out with cameras, drones, and even helicopters to catch a glimpse of the majestic frozen 'berg.