Marine Science

Marine Science

Senior Theses 2003

Cristin E. Ashmankas (2003). Baffin Bay deep water (+1000 m) warming from 1924 to 1997
Faculty advisor: Dr. Laura Wetzel


Baffin Bay is located between the west Coast of Greenland and the east coast of Baffin Island, Canada. Oceanic water above the freezing point (-1.6°C) and relatively fresh (33.7) flows south over a sill, 220m depth, from the ice capped Arctic into the seasonally ice covered Baffin Bay. Warmer (1. 5°C) and saltier (34.4) water from the North Atlantic flows north over a sill, 645m depth, up into Baffin Bay. Water flows, travels, and mixes in the upper 1000m of Baffin Bay (Ingram and Prinsenberg, 1998). Below this depth there is an isolated basin of depths from 1000m to greater than 2000m. Here, without the influence of the moving waters above, temperature and salinity are relatively homogeneous with both depth and location within the bathymetric boundaries (Muench, 1971). This, however, does not mean that this unique area is completely isolated from change.

The CTD data collected from various cruises to Baffin Bay from 1924 to 1997 were filtered for data depths greater than 1000m. Annual averages from all available data below 1000m were formed. These data points were graphed and a least squares trend line applied. This line was found to have a slope of 0.0066°C/year with a standard error of ± 0.0031. This indicates a general increase of 0.6°C ± 0.3°C over the past century. Possible sources of the temperature increase were investigated. Ultimately, this trend may reflect global temperature patterns and may, therefore, be an indicator of global warming.

Student Research