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Baffin Bay,ice-clogged body of water, c.700 mi (1,130 km) long, between Greenland and NE Canada. It connects with the Arctic Ocean to the north and west and with the Atlantic Ocean to the south by way of Davis Strait. Although more than 9,000 ft (2,740 m) deep, navigation in the bay is made hazardous by many icebergs brought there by the Labrador Current. In the 1800s the bay was an important whaling station. The British explorer John Davis was first (1585) to enter the bay, which is named for William Baffin, who explored it in 1616.
a partly enclosed sea of the Arctic Ocean, located between Greenland and the eastern shores of the Canadian Archipelago.
Baffin Bay is joined to the Atlantic Ocean by Davis Strait and the straits between the islands of the archipelago. It is joined to the Arctic Ocean by the Kane Basin. The area of Baffin Bay is 689,000 sq km. Its maximum depth is 2,136 m, and its average depth is 861 m. The average volume of water is 593,000 cu km. The bottom of the bay is composed of pebbles, detritus, sand, and, at depths greater than 1,000 m, silt. The currents form a cyclonic circulation; along its eastern periphery the West Greenland current moves water coming in from the Atlantic north during the summer. In the western part of the bay the Canadian current carries water south. The surface temperature of the bay in winter is below ˗1° C, and in the summer it varies from 4° to 5° C in the southeast to 0° C and lower in the northwest. In winter the bay’s salinity is more than 34 percent, and in summer it is more than 32 percent in the east and 30–31 percent in the west. The deep water results from the mixing of Arctic and Atlantic waters. (Their temperature is about ˗0.5° C, and their salinity about 34.5 percent.)
In the winter Baffin Bay is covered with ice floes, some of which are attached to the shore. Farther south Smith Sound forms a stationary polynya, the so-called Northern Water. In the summer ice floes remain in the center and western parts of the bay. Numerous icebergs form in Baffin Bay during the summer. They are carried with the ice floes into the Atlantic, into the region of the Grand Newfoundland Banks. The tides are primarily 12–hour tides (up to 4 m). The basic fauna is the white whale, cod, and herring. Baffin Bay was named in honor of W. Baffin.
A. O. SHPAIKHER