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Posts tagged Hudson Bay

Fires West of Hudson Bay, Canada – June 25th, 2013

57.7N 95.2W

June 25th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISAqua

Canada – June 25th, 2013

Several wildfires can be seen burning west of the Hudson Bay, in Manitoba and Nunavut, Canada. The fires are releasing thick plumes of white smoke that are being carried northwest by winds. Visible releasing sediments into the Hudson Bay is the Nelson River, which has a mean discharge of 2,370 cubic metres per second (84,000 cu ft/s).

Sediments and Melting Ice in James Bay, Canada – June 24th, 2013

52.6N 80.1W

June 24th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Sediments MODISTerra

Canada – June 22nd, 2013

James Bay and Hudson Bay constitute a large, shallow, inland sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean by Hudson Strait and the Labrador Sea, and to the Arctic Ocean by the Foxe Basin, and Fury and Hecla Strait. Currents are strongly affected by influxes of fresh water from rivers and, during the open-water season, by wind stress. Cold saline water enters Hudson Bay and James Bay from the northwest. Less saline surface outflows occur along the eastern shores of James Bay and Hudson Bay north to Hudson Strait.

These two “bays” are the largest bodies of water in the world that seasonally freeze over each winter and become ice-free each summer. In Hudson Bay, the ice cover starts to form in northern areas by late October and continues to grow until a maximum cover is reached at he end of April. Polynya (open water leads in the ice which are known to be important biologically throughout the Arctic) are found predominantly along the north-west and east coasts of Hudson Bay, both coasts of James Bay, and in the vicinity of the Belcher Islands. In James Bay, the ice cover begins to decay in late May, and the area becomes ice-free by the end of July.

The watershed of Hudson Bay and James Bay covers well over one-third of Canada, from southern Alberta to central Ontario to Baffin Island, as well as parts of North Dakota and Minnesota in the United States. The rivers flowing into Hudson Bay and James Bay discharge more than twice the flow of either the Mackenzie or St. Lawrence rivers. The seasonal timing of this freshwater discharge is a major factor governing the productivity and JSC of the region. Hydro developments that change the timing and rate of flow of fresh water may cause changes in the nature and duration of ice-cover; habitats of marine mammals, fish, and migratory birds; currents into and out of Hudson Bay/James Bay; seasonal and annual loads of sediments and nutrients to marine ecosystems (likely leading to lower biological productivity of estuaries and coastal areas); and anadromous fish populations (click here for more information).

Fires East of James Bay, Canada – June 14th, 2013

51.6N 78.2W

June 14th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day, Sediments VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Canada – June 14th, 2013

Three large fires can be seen east of James Bay, Canada, releasing thick plumes of smoke that fan outwards as they blow south. In the bay, which is part of the larger Hudson Bay, melting ice and the influx of dark brown and tan sediments give the waters a variety of different tones.

Climate Change in Areas of Hudson Bay – Issues of Global Cooling – June 6th, 2013

54.8N 80W

June 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day MODISTerra

Canada – June 6th, 2013

Contrary to the name global warming, we do not see temperatures increasing everywhere in the world. In the Arctic region western North America and Siberia are following the global trend of warming, but in areas of Hudson Bay and Greenland the temperature on average has been decreasing over the last 50 years during the winter months.

Ecosystems in these areas and the organisms that live there may become threatened by this climate cooling. Reserachers are still working on understanding the causes of the cooling, including changing patterns in ocean and air currents due to climate change. In many areas they have experienced an average decrease in temperature of 4°C . This decrease in temperature may not sound like a large amount, but it is enough to disturb the natural cycles of the Arctic, and the unqiue ecosystems found there.

One of the most extraordinary systems of the Arctic that is being threatened by climate change are polynyas, which is the Russian word for ice hole. These are open areas of water surrounded by pack ice. They occur where ocean currents, wind, and upwelling warm water prevent ice from forming at the surface. In the Arctic Ocean these open areas can be surrounded by sea ice that is greater than 2 meters thick! Many Arctic polynyas are small at only a few square kilometers, and some are large, such as the North Water Polynya, which is about 50,000 km2.

These regions are important to many local species such as polar bears, marine mammals, and seabirds. Many animals have adapted to not migrate south during the winter months, and instead use polynyas as refuge from the miles and miles of ice and snow.

In some areas abrupt climate change is contributing to climate cooling in areas such as south east Hudson’s Bay where polynyas are freezing over more often than seen in the past. For the species that depend on these areas this means that their holes of refuge disappear when needed most. While in other areas climate change is causing ploynyas to open earlier in the season. This may lead to increased primary productivity in some areas, but the reduction sea ice will have negative impacts on ice dependant species (click here for more information).

Sediments by Akimiski Island and Hudson Bay Climate Change, Canada – May 26th, 2013

53.0N 81.2W

May 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Sediments

Canada – May 25th, 2013

Sediments can be seen between the southern shores of Akimiski Island and mainland Ontario, Canada. It is the largest island in James Bay, a southeasterly extension of Hudson Bay.

Scientists have found evidence of warming in western Hudson Bay and cooling in the east, and of earlier ice-breakup at lakes southwest of Hudson Bay. They also presented evidence of increasing annual precipitation with trends toward greater precipitation in spring, summer, and autumn (click here for more information).

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