Physical properties and isotopic characteristics of the winter water column and landfast sea-ice surrounding the Belcher Islands, southeast Hudson Bay
Eastwood, Rosemary Ann
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The freshwater budget of Hudson Bay is governed by complex interactions between terrestrial, marine, and atmospheric systems. Inuit in Sanikiluaq have observed rapid freezing of flaw leads and polynyas around the Belcher Islands (southeast Hudson Bay) and have been seeking answers about what is contributing to this change. This study provides the first winter oceanographic observations of spatial and temporal distribution of freshwater in this region, using tandem measurements of salinity and δ18O from water and ice core samples to decipher freshwater sources (river water, sea-ice melt). River water and sea-ice melt contribute to the fresh surface mixed layer mainly present along the eastside of the islands, and is likely preventing downward mobility of dense briny waters that is locally made and advected in. In addition, the river water inventory increases as winter progresses, an unexpected result since the natural cadence of river runoff is low during the winter months.