The Arctic–Subarctic Exchange Through Hudson Strait

  • Fiammetta Straneo
  • François J. Saucier

One major export of (fresh) water from the Arctic region to the North Atlantic is due to surface-intensified currents that flow along the topographic margins. These enter the North Atlantic through three major straits – Fram, Davis and Hudson – which therefore provide ideal gateways for monitoring the exchange. Of these straits, the first two link the North Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean while the third, Hudson Strait, connects it to an extensive Arctic region, the Hudson Bay System (HBS), which, in its northwest corner, is also connected to the Arctic Ocean (via Fury and Hecla Strait – Fig. 10.1). The lack of a direct connection with the Arctic Ocean is, likely, the reason why Hudson Strait’s contribution to the Arctic/ North Atlantic exchange has, until recently, been overlooked. In this chapter, we present estimates for the net, as well as the inflow and outflow transports, of volume, heat and freshwater through Hudson Strait. These are based both on a review of the inputs into the basin and on the first year-long measurements of the outflow from Hudson Strait to the Labrador Sea. This analysis shows not only that the HBS provides a substantial net input of Arctic (fresh) water to the North Atlantic but, also, that a significant fraction of the export through Davis Strait is recirculated in the HBS before it effectively flows into the Labrador Sea.


River Discharge Arctic Ocean Freshwater Flux Freshwater Transport Freshwater Budget 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barber FG (1965) Current observations in Fury and Hecla Strait. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 22:225–229Google Scholar
  2. Clarke RA, Gascard JC (1983) The formation of Labrador Sea Water. Part I: Large-scale processes. J. Phys. Ocean. 13:1764–1788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cuny J, Rhines PB, Kwok R (2005) Davis Strait volume, freshwater and heat fluxes. Deep Sea-Res. I 52:519–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Déry SJ, Stieglitz M, McKenna EC, Wood EF (2005) Characteristics and trends of river discharge into Hudson, James, and Ungava bays, 1964–2000. J. Climate 18:2540–2557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Drinkwater KF (1986) Physical oceanography of Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay. In: Martini IP (ed), Canadian Inland Seas. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 237–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Drinkwater KF (1988) On the mean and tidal currents in Hudson Strait. Atmos.-Ocean 26:252–266Google Scholar
  7. Gagnon AS, Gough WA (2005a) Climate change scenarios for the Hudson Bay region an intermodel comparison. Climatic Change 69:269–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gagnon AS, Gough WA (2005b) Trends and variability in the dates of freeze-up and break-up over Hudson Bay and James Bay. Arctic 58:370–382Google Scholar
  9. Ingram RG, Prinsenberg S (1998) Coastal oceanography of Hudson Bay and surrounding Eastern Canadian Arctic Waters. In: Robinson AR, Brink KN (eds), The Sea, vol 11. Wiley, pp. 835–861Google Scholar
  10. IPCC (2001) Climate Change 2001 synthesis report: contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Laine V (2004) Arctic sea ice regional albedo variability and trends, 1982–1998. JGR, 109: C06027, doi:10.1029/2003JC001818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lazier JRN (1980) Oceanographic conditions at Ocean Weather Ship Bravo, 1964–1974. Atmos-Ocean. 18:227–238Google Scholar
  13. Lazier JRN, Hendry R, Clarke A, Yashayaev I, Rhines PB (2002) Convection and Restratification in the Labrador Sea, 1990–2000. Deep-Sea Res. I 49:1819–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Leblond PH, Osborn TR, Hodgins DO, Goodman R, Metge M (1981) Surface circulation in the western Labrador Sea. Deep Sea-Res. 28A:683–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Loder JW, Petrie B, Gawarkiewicz G (1998) The coastal ocean off North-eastern North America: a large-scale view. In: Robinson AR, Brink KH (eds), The Sea, vol. 11. Wiley, New York, pp. 105–133Google Scholar
  16. McClelland JW, Déry S, Peterson BJ, Holmes RM, Wood E (2006) A pan-arctic evaluation of changes in river discharge during the latter half of the 20th century. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, doi:10.1029/2006GL025753Google Scholar
  17. Mertz G, Narayanan S, Helbig S (1993) The freshwater transport of the Labrador Current. Atmos-Ocean 31:281–295Google Scholar
  18. Parkinson CL, Cavalieri DJ (2002) A 21 year record of arctic sea-ice extents and their regional, seasonal and monthly variability and trends. Ann. Glaciol. 34:441–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pickart RS, Torres DJ, Clarke RA (2002) Hydrography of the Labrador Sea During Convection. J. Phys. Ocean. 32:428–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Prinsenberg SJ (1977) Fresh water budget of Hudson Bay. Manuscript Report Series No. 5, Research and Development Division, Ocean and Aquatic Sci., Central Region, Environment Canada, Burlington, p. 71Google Scholar
  21. Prinsenberg SJ (1980) Man-made changes in the freshwater input rates of Hudson and James Bays. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 37:1101–1110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Prinsenberg SJ (1983) Effects of the hydroelectric developments on the oceanographic surface parameters of Hudson Bay. Atmos-Ocean 21:418–430Google Scholar
  23. Prinsenberg SJ (1988) Ice-cover and ice-ridge contributions to the freshwater contents of Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin. Arctic 41:6–11Google Scholar
  24. Sadler HE (1982) Water flow into Foxe Basin through Fury and Hecla Strait. Naturaliste Can. 109:701–707Google Scholar
  25. Saucier FJ, Senneville S, Prinsenberg S, Roy F, Smith G, Gachon P, Caya D, Laprise R (2004) Modelling the sea ice-ocean seasonal cycle in Hudson Bay, Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait, Canada. Climate Dyn. 23:303–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shiklomanov IA, Shiklomanov AI (2003) Climatic change and the dynamics of river runoff into the Arctic Ocean. Water Resour. 30:593–601 (Translated from Russian)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Straneo F (2006) Heat and freshwater transport through the central Labrador Sea, J. Phys. Ocean. 36:606–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Straneo F, Saucier FJ (2007) The outflow from Hudson Strait into the Labrador Sea. Deep Sea Res., in revisionGoogle Scholar
  29. Sutcliffe WH Jr, Loucks RH, Drinkwater KP, Coote AR (1983) Nutrient flux onto the Labrador Shelf from Hudson Strait and its biological consequences. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 40:1692–1701Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiammetta Straneo
    • 1
  • François J. Saucier
    • 2
  1. 1.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Université du Québec à RimouskiCanada

Personalised recommendations