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Baffin Bay, eight of the phibìc Atlantic ocean with an area the 266,000 square mile (689,000 square km), prolonging southward from the Arctic for 900 miles (1,450 km) in between the Greenland coastline (east) and also Baffin Island (west). The bay has actually a width varying in between 70 and also 400 miles (110 and 650 km). Davis Strait (south) leader from the bay to the Atlantic, conversely, Nares Strait (north) leads to the Arctic Ocean. A pit at the bay’s centre, the Baffin Hollow, plunges come a depth that 7,000 feet (2,100 m), and the bay, although small exploited by humans since of its enemy environment, is of substantial interest to geologists researching the advancement of the phibìc American continent.


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Baffin Bay
An iceberg in Baffin Bay, north Atlantic Ocean.
Jupiterimages—Photos.com/Thinkstock

The very first European visitor to discover the bay was Robert Bylot, one English sea captain, in may 1616, but his name was not offered to the entity, the honour going rather to his lieutenant, wilhelm Baffin. Also the latter’s discoveries became doubted till the later explorations that Captain (later Sir) man Ross, in 1818. The very first scientific investigations due to the fact that Bylot’s mapping of the shores were conducted in 1928 by a Danish and also by one American expedition, adhered to by another, much more extensive inspection in the 1930s. Patrol vessels, currently aided by aircraft, have long investigated ice circulation in the region, and after world War II a Canadian expedition undertook complex investigations.

Baffin Bay’s oval floor is fringed by the submarine shelves of Greenland and also Canada and by ledges in ~ the mouths the sounds. Apart from the main pit, depths variety from 800 feet (240 m) in the north to 2,300 feet (700 m) in the south. The bottom sediments are greatly terrigenous (originating top top land) and also include gray-brown homogeneous silts, pebbles, and boulders. Gravel lies everywhere.

The climate is severe, particularly in winter, as soon as northeast winds blow off Baffin Island (in the south) and in the bay’s north sector. Northwesterly and also southwesterly winds predominate in summer. Easterlies blow off the Greenland coast, and storms are frequent, significantly in the winter. January temperatures average -4° F (-20° C) in the south and -18° F (-28° C) aside from that north, however the warm, dry foehn winds that sweep down native the valleys include Greenland’s glaciers sometimes cause winter thaws. In July the temperature on the shores averages 45° F (7° C), through some snow. Overall, the yearly precipitation off Greenland is 4–10 customs (100–250 mm), getting to twice this off Baffin Island.


Icebergs are thick even in August; the ice cream cover is created from Arctic pack ice entering with the northern sounds, from regional sea ice, and from icebergs the have broken off adjacent glaciers. By late October, ice areas reach Hudson Strait (between Baffin Island and also the Quebec mainland), a an ar where seaside ice has already been thickening, largely near Greenland, wherein prevailing easterly winds do for sheltered conditions. The centre of Baffin only is extended with compounded ice cream in winter, however in the north there is in reality a permanent ice-free area (the “northern water”) that may be regarded the warming result of the West Greenland Current.

The salinity the Arctic waters flowing into Baffin Bay ranges from 30.0 come 32.7 parts per thousand, and their temperature warms as much as 41° F (5° C) ~ above the surface in summer, cooling in winter to 29° F (-2° C). The class 1,300–2,000 feet (400–600 m) deep reach 34° F (1° C) and a salinity that 34.5 components per thousand. Listed below 3,300 feet (1,000 m) in the main regions, the water—probably Atlantic in origin—reaches 31° F (-0.5° C) and has a salinity the 34.4 components per thousand.

Tides are an important and amazing feature. Close to Baffin Island and the shores the Greenland the tidal selection is about 13 feet (4 m), reaching as lot as 30 feet (9 m) whereby the water is required through narrow passages. The tidal price varies in between 0.6 and 2.3 miles per hour (1 and also 3.7 kilometres per hour), and the direction that the tides different by as much as 180°. This phenomenon to produce unequal press on the fields of floating ice and results in the churning together and also crushing the fresh, old, and pack ice.

The resolution of salt in the water and the warming impact of southerly currents do Baffin only a haven because that myriad life-forms. The plenty of single-cell birds nourish little invertebrates, especially euphausiids (an stimulate of small, shrimplike crustaceans), and also these consequently are food for larger invertebrates, fish, birds, and also mammals. Among the fish discovered in Baffin Bay space the Arctic flounder, four-horned sculpin (a spiny, large-headed, broad-mouthed fish), polar cod, and also capelin (a little fish that the scented family). Migrant fish from Atlantic waters encompass cod, haddock, herring, halibut, and grenadier (a tapering-bodied, soft-finned fish). Wildlife additionally includes ringed seals, mustache seals, harp seals, and—in the north—walrus, dolphins, and also whales (including killer whales). Coastal birds incorporate gulls, ducks, geese, eiders, snowy owls, snow buntings, ravens, gyrfalcons, and also sea eagles.

The tree cover that the floor bordering the only is likewise varied, with about 400 types represented. Shrubs include birch, willow, and alder and likewise halophytic tree (i.e., those adjusted to braided soils), as well as lyme (or tussock) grass, mosses, and also lichens. These administer food because that rodents and also the splendid caribou the the area. Polar bears and Arctic foxes additionally abound. Large fishing stays undeveloped since of the hazards of the heavy ice cover, yet local residents—who are mainly Eskimo (Inuit)—carry on some fishing and also hunting, often with classic methods.

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This article was many recently revised and also updated by Amy Tikkanen, correction Manager.