Nares Strait in Autumn


The Landsat mosaic you can see below is from last autumn just before the begin of the polar night. It shows the Nares Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere Island connecting the Arctic Ocean to the North Atlantic Ocean. This strait features a permanent current from north to south which leads to significant amounts of ice in the strait even in summer. The Nares Strait current also helps transporting the icebergs calving from the Greenland glaciers to the south to later show up at the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland.

In late Autumn as depicted in the mosaic the first winter snow has already fallen so even the ice free areas are mostly covered by a thin layer of snow. New sea ice has already started forming in the Arctic Ocean and on lakes and fjords in the north. In the south the Baffin Bay is still mostly ice free though as can be seen in the following crop showing Qaanaaq, the northmost major settlement in Greenland.

The situation is similar on southern Ellesmere Island where the fjords are still ice free and snow is still thawing at the lower south oriented mountain faces and close to the open water.

Further to the north you can see the ocean is already fully frozen like in the following crop showing the Milne Fjord at the northwest Ellesmere Island coast.

Similarly the lakes are already ice covered like Lake Hazen, the largest lake on Ellesmere Island.

The sun position is varying quite a bit across the mosaic since the images are taken at different dates across a window of several weeks. In the northeast the sun is very low near sunset leading to long shadows like in the following crop from the Victoria Fjord.

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