The sea is never still and its changing conditions must be known and respected. From around mid July, most of the winter sea ice is breaking up and there are large areas of what is called pack ice. Depending on the winds, large areas of the sea can be ice-free. If the winds start to blow from a different direction, the sea can soon become choked with moving ice and locked in dense fog.

Usually by August, much of the sea becomes ice-free. The timing of this is different from place to place and there are some years when the ice never leaves. In September and October, the storms and strong winds of fall can quickly turn peaceful waters into violent waves making this the most dangerous and unpredictable time of the year for hunting and travel.
The sea is never still and its changing conditions must be known and respected. From around mid July, most of the winter sea ice is breaking up and there are large areas of what is called pack ice. Depending on the winds, large areas of the sea can be ice-free. If the winds start to blow from a different direction, the sea can soon become choked with moving ice and locked in dense fog.

Usually by August, much of the sea becomes ice-free. The timing of this is different from place to place and there are some years when the ice never leaves. In September and October, the storms and strong winds of fall can quickly turn peaceful waters into violent waves making this the most dangerous and unpredictable time of the year for hunting and travel.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

photo

"The great sea has set me adrift. It moves me as a weed in a great river." So spoke the Inuk Uvanuk of Igloolik.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


During October, the days are growing noticeably shorter and the weather noticeably colder. Snow comes to the land and ice starts to form in the sheltered bays. Then in November and usually very suddenly on a cold windless night the surface of the sea becomes locked in ice and the land and the seas seem to become a single environment.
During October, the days are growing noticeably shorter and the weather noticeably colder. Snow comes to the land and ice starts to form in the sheltered bays. Then in November and usually very suddenly on a cold windless night the surface of the sea becomes locked in ice and the land and the seas seem to become a single environment.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

man fishing

Living from the land requires skill, patience and a deep understanding of the environment and animals.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


As winter takes over, the sea ice expands, completely closing in some areas while in others creating what we call the sena or floe edge that separates the ice from the open water. If there is a strong storm soon after freeze-up, the surface of the ice will become rough and uneven. When the ice reaches its greatest extent and thickness, high winds can cause small cracks to open up and large ice pans to break away and move out to sea.
As winter takes over, the sea ice expands, completely closing in some areas while in others creating what we call the sena or floe edge that separates the ice from the open water. If there is a strong storm soon after freeze-up, the surface of the ice will become rough and uneven. When the ice reaches its greatest extent and thickness, high winds can cause small cracks to open up and large ice pans to break away and move out to sea.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

landscape

Floe edge.

Photo by W. Kemp

© W. Kemp


landscape

Strong winds, tides and currents can create very difficult and dangerous conditions when hunting on the floe edge.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


By March the days are once again growing longer and the sun stronger, but this is also the time in which the sea ice is at its maximum. By May, the snow cover on the ice begins to evaporate and melt, leaving deep blue pools of fresh water on the surface. Even though the days are much longer, nights can still be quite cold so the surface of the ice freezes. This is one of the best times for us to travel. As spring merges with summer, the ice gradually breaks up and the cycle of our natural world begins once again.
By March the days are once again growing longer and the sun stronger, but this is also the time in which the sea ice is at its maximum. By May, the snow cover on the ice begins to evaporate and melt, leaving deep blue pools of fresh water on the surface. Even though the days are much longer, nights can still be quite cold so the surface of the ice freezes. This is one of the best times for us to travel. As spring merges with summer, the ice gradually breaks up and the cycle of our natural world begins once again.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Landscape

Break-up begins in June or July.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


Landscape

Break-up begins in June or July.

Courtesy of Makivik Corporation.

© Makivik Corporation


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Recount the conditions of the Arctic seas throughout the four seasons
  • Relate information texts to images

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