Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada

Discover Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador: A Beautiful Island with Rich History

Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador, is a stunning, uninhabited island located just over 24 km off the coast of Labrador and slightly less than 32 km north of Newfoundland. This beautiful island, named by French explorer Jacques Cartier, is situated at the Atlantic entrance to the Strait of Belle Isle, from which it derives its name. Belle Isle is a significant landmark on the shortest shipping lane between the Great Lakes and Europe, and it also marks the main north-south shipping route to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories. The northern terminus of the International Appalachian Trail is also located on Belle Isle.

Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador: A Geographic Overview

Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador, is a geographic marvel. Rising to about 213 m at its highest point, the island covers an area of 52 km2. It measures 17 km in length and 6 km in width. The island is nearly 24 km from either coast, but it is slightly closer to the Labrador side of the Strait of Belle Isle. Belle Isle is adorned with a lighthouse at both its northern and southern ends, supported by flying buttresses.

Although officially uninhabited, Belle Isle sees some seasonal occupation during the fishing season. The island is the northernmost peak of the Appalachian Mountains, which extend over 3,200 km southwest to Alabama, United States.

Belle Isle's unique location places it at the meeting point of two sea currents. The Labrador Current flows from the northwest, and a smaller current, driven by dominant westerly winds, flows from the southwest. The flow lines in sea ice give a sense of the movement of the ice, with ice floes embedded in the Labrador Current appearing as a relatively open pattern. Sea ice with a denser pattern enters from the strait, banking against the west side of Belle Isle.

The Climate of Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador

Belle Isle, Newfoundland Labrador, experiences a marginal subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc), which is exceptionally cold for a coastal location so far south as the 51st parallel. For comparison, Dunkirk on the opposite side of the Atlantic averages 11.8 °C warmer for the year as a whole, due to the contrasting currents on the eastern and western sides of the Icelandic Low.

The climate of Belle Isle features short, cool summers and long, severely cold winters that last most of the year. Precipitation peaks during the warmer months of June to September in the form of rain. Despite its harsh climate, Belle Isle remains a fascinating destination for those interested in geography, history, and the natural world.