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Polynya in the Disko Bay

Disko Bay | Greenland

Date of acquisition:    April 4th, 2023  |  15:33:15 UTC and April 7th, 2023  |  14:20:28 UTC

Sensor:   Sentinel-3B OLCI, Sentinel-2B L2A

Coordinates:     69.897°N, 50.653°W

The West Greenland Current is a warm ocean current that continues the East Greenland Current around the southern tip of Greenland and flows north along the shelf and its western coast (see Sentinel-3 image below). It then crosses Baffin Bay and joins the waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, where it forms the Baffin Current, which flows  further south.

The Sentinel-2 image shows the area between Disko Island and the coast of Greenland, where the uninhabited island of Alluttok is located in the northern part of the Disko Bay at the mouth of the Sallorsuaq Strait. East of Alluttok an ice-free polynya of an interesting cruciform shape can be observed. Its measures 16 x 15 km and has an area of approximately 80 km2. Polynyas are areas with open water or thin layers of floating ice and brash ice surrounded by pack or fast sea ice.

It can be assumed that the considered ice-free space is formed by a branch of the West Greenland Current, which in this area sticks to the coastline of small islands and to the calving glaciers descend from the Greenland highlands.

Images contain modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2023].