Arctic Ocean Driftwood

Updated: Nov 12


Drift wood abounds on the Westfjord beach where Guoni’s relatives found two boats from the same deployment
Drift wood abounds on the Westfjord beach where Guoni’s relatives found two boats from the same deployment.

Over half the wood toy boat reports have been from Iceland. It turns out that Iceland is a magnet for driftwood which originates thousands of miles away in Siberia on the other side of the Arctic Ocean. The Float Your Boat drift buoys indicate that the drift across the Arctic Ocean takes about two years. Studies estimate that logs will sink after about 10 months in the water. The driftwood in the Arctic Ocean is transported frozen in the ice and therefore will not soak up water. So the ice pack acts as a natural conveyor belt for dropping driftwood from the other side of the Arctic into the North Atlantic. Recent studies indicate that, by 2060, sea ice loss will affect this conveyor belt so that driftwood will no longer reach Iceland.


I learned from Guoni that these days Icelanders use driftwood to build fences and for the wood stove. So although it is not as important a resource as it used to be, the loss will be noticed.


What does this mean for Float your Boat? Hard to tell. One question about the wooden boats that has come up again and again is, how long before they get waterlogged and sink? Sounds like a good question to solve by an experiment. All you need is a bucket of water and a boat? If your class is interested perhaps we can send extra boats for the experiment.


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