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Clear View of the Hudson Bay Basin

An ice-free view of the Hudson Bay Basin.

The Hudson Bay is the largest northern inland sea, the 2nd largest bay (after the Bay of Bengal), and an important cold-water estuary ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. It empties into the the Labrador Sea through the Hudson Straight.

Ice-free and cloudless views of the Hudson Bay are extremely rare because it is ice-covered for much of the year, is regularly shrouded in inclement weather, and exists at a very high latitude.

Sea ice accounts for three times the annual river flow into the bay. Annual freezing and thawing, as well as other factors such as the low rate of evaporation, the large volume of terrestrial runoff from Canadian rivers and streams entering the bay, and the limited connection with the saltier Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, significantly reduce the salinity of the surface layer. This affects the distribution and prevalence of common microscopic marine life such as phytoplankton. This is indicated by areas where the water appears as a deep blue hue. In contrast, along the coastline of Ontario, we see sediment re-suspension mixing in with the waters creating yellow and brown hues.