Hudson Bay, Canada – October 21st, 2008
Hudson Bay is a large (1.23 million km²), relatively shallow body of water in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana, and the southeastern area of Nunavut. A smaller offshoot of the bay, James Bay, lies to the south. On the east it is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by the Hudson Strait, and on the north with the rest of the Arctic Ocean by Foxe Basin (which is not considered part of the bay) and Fury and Hecla Strait.
Here we can see an area of the northern part of the Hudson Bay. The island in the center is Prince Charles Island, with the smaller Air Force Island to its right. The larger land mass near them is actually another island, Baffin Island, whose sandy shoreline is clearly visible.
Prince Charles Island is a large, low-lying island with an area of 9,521 km2 (3,676 sq mi). Despite the island’s size, the first recording of it was in 1948 by Albert-Ernest Tomkinson navigating an RCAF Avro Lancaster, though it was likely known to the local Inuit long before that. The island was named for Prince Charles, who was born the same year. The island is uninhabited and its temperatures are extremely cold.
The entire area seen in the images is inside the Arctic Circle. Hudson Bay has a salinity that is lower than the world ocean on average. This is caused mainly by the low rate of evaporation (the bay is ice-covered for much of the year), the large volume of terrestrial runoff entering the bay (about 700 km³ annually; the Hudson Bay watershed covers much of Canada, with many rivers and streams discharging into the bay), and the limited connection with the larger Atlantic Ocean (and its higher salinity). The annual freeze-up and thaw of sea ice significantly alters the salinity of the surface layer, representing roughly three years’ worth of river inflow.