This is shaping up to be a banner year for polar bears in Foxe Basin (central Canada), with more ice in this region than there’s been since 1992. Hudson Bay still has a large patch of thick first year ice, more than there has been at this date since 2009, which was a late breakup year.
Ice maps and charts below tell the story.
The amount of ice remaining in Foxe Basin at this point in the year is quite spectacular, given that we are now well into the melt season (see the chart and graph below).
Lots of hunting habitat for polar bears! In my summary of the status of Foxe Basin polar bears (with references and more maps), I pointed out that this subpopulation is considered healthy and stable.
While the ice on Hudson Bay isn’t breaking any records, there is still more than there has been for the last 5 years — and more ice than average for this date, as the chart and graph below show. Whether bears of the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation are still utilizing this ice is hard to say but I expect there are some still out there.
For background and references, see my post on the history of Hudson Bay breakup dates, “Polar bears of W. Hudson Bay came ashore in 2009 as late as in 1992.” The very persistent ice coverage in 1992 (blamed on the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo), so much higher than other years, really stands out in Fig. 4.