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Canada's polynyas

Canada’s Arctic is dotted with 23 polynyas that are critical habitats for marine mammals and birds. These geographically fixed regions of (mostly) open water surrounded by sea ice form in two ways. Latent-heat (or coastal) polynyas form when wind and currents push ice away from a coastline or a mass of fixed ice, while sensible-heat (or open-ocean) polynyas form when relatively warm water upwells from the ocean’s lower depths to the surface, slowing or preventing the formation of ice.

This interactive map depicts Canada’s 23 polynyas. Hover your mouse over the map and click a highlighted polynya to learn more.

Cape Bathurst polynya
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Lambert Channel polynya
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Roes Welcome Sound polynya
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Committee Bay polynya
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Foxe Basin polynya
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Frobisher Bay polynya
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Cumberland Sound polynya
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Fury and Hecla Strait polynya
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Franklin Strait polynya
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Bellot Strait polynya
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Prince Regent Inlet polynya
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Lancaster Sound polynya
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Viscount Melville Sound polynya
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Queens Channel and Penny Strait polynya
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Dundas Island polynya
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Hell Gate – Cardigan Strait polynya
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Lady Ann Strait polynya
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Bylot Island polynya
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Coburg Island polynya
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North Water (NOW) polynya
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Flagler Bay polynya
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Lincoln Sea polynya
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Belcher Islands polynyas
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Polynya map

Map: Meltofte, H. (ed.) 2013. Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.
Status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Akureyri.
Text: Michela Rosano


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