Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 1835–1849

Sensitivity of Hudson Bay Sea ice and ocean climate to atmospheric temperature forcing


DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0731-4

Cite this article as:
Joly, S., Senneville, S., Caya, D. et al. Clim Dyn (2011) 36: 1835. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0731-4


A regional sea-ice–ocean model was used to investigate the response of sea ice and oceanic heat storage in the Hudson Bay system to a climate-warming scenario. Projections of air temperature (for the years 2041–2070; effective CO2 concentration of 707–950 ppmv) obtained from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM 4.2.3), driven by the third-generation coupled global climate model (CGCM 3) for lateral atmospheric and land and ocean surface boundaries, were used to drive a single sensitivity experiment with the delta-change approach. The projected change in air temperature varies from 0.8°C (summer) to 10°C (winter), with a mean warming of 3.9°C. The hydrologic forcing in the warmer climate scenario was identical to the one used for the present climate simulation. Under this warmer climate scenario, the sea-ice season is reduced by 7–9 weeks. The highest change in summer sea-surface temperature, up to 5°C, is found in southeastern Hudson Bay, along the Nunavik coast and in James Bay. In central Hudson Bay, sea-surface temperature increases by over 3°C. Analysis of the heat content stored in the water column revealed an accumulation of additional heat, exceeding 3 MJ m−3, trapped along the eastern shore of James and Hudson bays during winter. Despite the stratification due to meltwater and river runoff during summer, the shallow coastal regions demonstrate a higher capacity of heat storage. The maximum volume of dense water produced at the end of winter was halved under the climate-warming perturbation. The maximum volume of sea ice is reduced by 31% (592 km³) while the difference in the maximum cover is only 2.6% (32,350 km2). Overall, the depletion of sea-ice thickness in Hudson Bay follows a southeast–northwest gradient. Sea-ice thickness in Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay is 50% thinner than in present climate conditions during wintertime. The model indicates that the greatest changes in both sea-ice climate and heat content would occur in southeastern Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Hudson Strait.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Joly
    • 1
  • S. Senneville
    • 1
  • D. Caya
    • 2
  • F. J. Saucier
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut des Sciences de la Mer de RimouskiUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada
  2. 2.Consortium OuranosTour Ouest, MontréalCanada