Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Sections across Smith Sound, at the southern end of Nares Strait, and across Davis Strait at the southern end of Baffin Bay were chosen to represent waters flowing through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

16.3.2.1 Smith Sound (1997)

The Smith Sound section (78.3° N) is in the southern part of Nares Strait, south of the sill near 81° N in Kennedy Channel (Fig. 16.3c). Pacific fresh water is the dominant source of fresh water in this section. Pacific fresh water and river water distributions more or less overlap and are fairly uniform across the section. The highest concentrations of Pacific fresh water and river water are comparable (0.06) but higher river water concentrations are confined to very near the surface. Sea ice meltwater is mostly negative. Its distribution is also roughly coincident with Pacific fresh water and river water suggesting that it reflects sea ice formation that has occurred in the Arctic Ocean. Distributions of total fresh water and Pacific fresh water in Kennedy Channel in 2001 (Jones and Eert 2006b) are similar to those in Smith Sound in 1997. From this we infer that there is not much change in near surface waters traversing from the Arctic Ocean through Kennedy Channel to Smith Sound.

16.3.2.2 Davis Strait (1997)

The Davis Strait section is at the southern end of Baffin Bay just north of the sill between Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea (Fig. 16.3d). Fresh water from the Arctic Ocean in the Baffin Island Current on the west side extends nearly half way across the strait. The near surface water is slightly fresher than that in Nares Strait. Pacific fresh water and river water distributions roughly overlap, and concentrations are comparable to those in Nares Strait thus indicating little dilution of the Arctic Ocean water flowing south. As in Nares Strait, sea ice formation is seen at depth coinciding with the Pacific fresh water and river water, again suggesting that this is reflecting sea ice formation in the Arctic Ocean. The slightly fresher surface water may be reflecting a contribution of fresh water passing through the other several Canadian Arctic Archipelago channels into Lancaster Sound as well as possibly some local melting as indicated by the lesser amount of sea ice formation near the surface.

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