The sea ice concentrations and areal extent in Baffin Bay have undergone major reductions over the past 31 years (1981-2011). Of particular interest is the Northeastern Baffin Bay area off West Greenland, which is a promising frontier area for oil and gas exploration. The break-up dates, along with other characteristics of the Ice-free season, are analyzed using weekly Canadian Ice Service Digital Archive ice chart data on ice concentrations and ice types. The reductions in the early summer ice concentrations occurred quite abruptly in the late 1990’s, prior to which, much higher ice concentrations prevailed back to the mid-1980’s. The underlying causes of the change in the sea ice conditions are explored in this paper.

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