We don't usually think of ice as a moving thing. But when the right combination of factors present themselves, an ice shove can occur. Also known as an ice tsunami or ivu (an Inupiat term), an ice shove is a surge of ice that pushes forward and piles up on a body of water's shore.
Although ice shoves can happen at any time, they are most likely to occur when ice is breaking up in the late winter through early spring. A combination of temperature changes, powerful winds and gently sloping shorelines create a situation where the ice pushes forward, slowly crushing whatever is in its path and eventually forming ice piles that can reach surprising heights.
An ice shove (also known as an ice surge, ice push, ice heave, shoreline ice pileup, ice piling, ice thrust, ice tsunami, ice ride-up, or ivu in Inupiat) is a surge of ice from an ocean or large lake onto the shore.
Ice shoves are caused by ocean currents, strong winds, or temperature differences pushing ice onto the shore, creating piles up to 12 metres (40 feet) high. Ice shoves can be caused by temperature fluctuations, wind action, or changing water levels and can cause devastation to coastal Arctic communities.
Climate change plays a role in the formation and frequency of ice shove events; a rise in global temperatures leads to more open water to facilitate ice movement and low pressure systems to destabilize ice sheets and send them shoreward. Continue reading
January 25, 2023 - Seventeen years ago today, residents of the Alaskan town formerly known as Barrow, but now known as Utqiagvik, started to deal with the aftermath of the largest ice shove they had seen in almost three decades. Two separate ice shoves, or ivus, had occurred during the two previous days when strong winds from the west pushed thick multiyear ice against thinner and younger ice. One of the ivus, which residents told the Associated Press was 20 feet high and 100 feet long, was said to contain car-sized blocks of ice within it. The other ivu was reportedly 200 feet long, and stopped just short of an empty playground.
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