Hudson Bay sea ice above average for this date – more good news for polar bears

It’s only the 4th of December and Hudson Bay ice formation is way up over late 2000s coverage for this date — and higher than 2012, which had the lowest overall September ice extent for the Arctic since 1978.

Hudson Bay freeze-up same week_Dec 4 1971_2014 w average

This means boom times for Western and Southern Hudson Bay polar bears as sea ice formation is several days to a week ahead of last year. And as I mentioned in my last post, average November ice coverage across the Arctic this year was higher than 2003. Don’t forget that 2/3’s of the world’s polar bears live in Canada (see recent status update here; map below).

Figure 4. The Davis Strait (DS) subpopulation region runs from just below the Arctic Circle at the north end to at least 470N in the south. About half of DS lays at the same latitude as Western Hudson Bay (WH). Courtesy Environment Canada.

Polar bear population status in Canada. Courtesy Environment Canada.

More maps and charts below.

Canadian Ice Service (CIS) maps for early December 2014 vs. 2012: note that the only map I had for 2012 is for 7 December and yet it was still way behind the 4 December level seen this year.

Sea ice Canada 2014 vs 2012_Dec 4_Hudson Bay_PolarBearScience

Ice maps from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) for December 3, 2014 and 2013 and for December 2, 2012.

Sea ice extent 2014 Dec 3_NSIDC

Sea ice extent 2013 Dec 3 daily_NSIDC

Sea ice extent 2012 Dec 2 NSIDC

Below are some regional historical charts from CIS for the week of 4 December, either 1971-2014 or 1968-2014 (depending on the area), with both means and averages marked. See the inset maps upper left corner to see each region defined (click to enlarge).

Central Hudson Bay

Hudson Bay Central only freeze-up same week_Dec 4 1971_2014 w average

Hudson Strait
Hudson Strait freeze-up same week_Dec 4 1971_2014 w average

Foxe Basin
Hudson Bay Foxe Basin sea ice same week at Dec 4 1968_2014 with average

Davis Strait (as noted earlier, well below average for this date)
Davis Strait freeze-up same week_Dec 4 1971 to 2014

Baffin Bay (a bit below average but not as low as it was from 1968-1974!)
Baffin Bay freeze-up same week_Dec 4 1968 to 2014

Related post:
Hudson Bay freeze-up has not been a day later each year since 1981 November 22, 2013

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