My first experience with tidal sea ice has been here in Pangnirtung. Growing up in southern Ontario I have ice fished on frozen lakes and I am familiar with freshwater ice. However, I have never been around ice that moves with the tides and have found the “moving siku” (siku is ice in Inuktitut) very fascinating. I created a simple video below to show how much the ice moves in the harbour as the tide comes in. More information on tides in the area can be found at: http://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Aulatsivik-Point-Nunavut/tides/latest.

Sea ice is a very dynamic substance and a big part of life in the north for many people. The ocean is frozen for much of the year and sea ice patterns can dictate seasonal land and ocean use for both people and animals in the area (ISIUOP, 2011). Pangnirtung is located in a fjord off of Cumberland Sound and the sea ice within the fjord is an important travel route to the coastlines of Cumberland Sound, hunting and fishing grounds and nearby communities (Laidler, Dialla et al., 2008). All but one of Nunavut’s communities is located along the coast and many people in the region rely on the sea ice for “travel, hunting, harvesting, diet, recreation, livelihoods, health and cultural values” (ISIUOP, 2011). For more information on sea ice visit: http://sikuatlas.ca/index.html.

I arrived in Pang in mid-May and at this point Cumberland Sound had a fair amount of open water and Pangnirtung fjord was still full of ice. My personal experience with sea ice has been somewhat limited so far but one thing I have been very fascinated by is how the ice moves up and down with the large tides of the area and the tidal zone of ice formations along the shore.

The sea ice within the tidal zone is full of ice formations that are created by the tides moving in and out. In the fall as the ice is forming thin layers of ice develop that are then pushed in and out as the tides move. The constant push and pull of the tides results in large blocks of ice spread throughout the tidal zone along the shore. The tidal zone is quite large around Pang creating a large area along the shore with these beautiful ice formations. The weather is warming up and the ice is beginning to break up and melt within the fjord. I may do a follow up post of the transition from sea ice to open water within the fjord.

Sources:

ISIUOP, I.S.I.U.O.P. (2011). “Inuit siku (sea ice) Atlas.” Retrieved June 5, 2015, from http://sikuatlas.ca/index.html.

Laidler, G. J., et al. (2008). “Human geographies of sea ice: freeze/thaw processes around Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada.” Polar Record 44(04): 335-361.

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