Variability of sea ice extent in Baffin Bay over the last millennium


Comparison of an ice core glaciochemical time-series developed from the Penny Ice Cap (PIC), Baffin Island and monthly sea-ice extent reveals a statistically significant inverse relationship between changes in Baffin Bay spring sea-ice extent and Penny Ice Cap sea-salt concentrations for the period 1901–1990 AD.Empirical orthogonal function analysis demonstrates the joint behavior between changes in PIC sea-salt concentrations, sea-ice extent, and changes in North Atlantic atmospheric circulation. Our results suggest that sea-salt concentrations in snow preserved on the PIC reflect local to regional springtime sea-ice coverage. The PIC sea-salt record/sea-ice relationship is further supported by decadal and century scale comparison with other paleoclimate records of eastern Arctic climate change over the last700 years. Our sea-salt record suggests that, while the turn of the century was characterized by generally milder sea-ice conditions in Baffin Bay, the last few decades of sea-ice extentlie within Little Ice Age variability and correspond to instrumental records of lower temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic over the past three decades.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Climatic Change



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