Labrador Sea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Past sunset at Labrador Sea, off the coast of Paamiut, Greenland

The Labrador Sea (French: mer du Labrador) is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Labrador Peninsula and Greenland. The sea is surrounded by continental shelves to the southwest, northwest, and northeast. It connects to the north with Baffin Bay through the Davis Strait.[1] It has been described as a marginal sea of the Atlantic.[2][3]

The Labrador Sea is about 3400 meters deep and 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) wide where it joins the Atlantic Ocean. It becomes shallower, to less than 700 m (383 fathoms; 2,297 ft) towards Baffin Bay and passes into the 300 km wide (190 mi) Davis Strait.[4]

The water temperature varies between −1 °C (30 °F) in winter and 5–6 °C (41–43 °F) in summer. The salinity is relatively low, at 31–34.9 parts per thousand. Two-thirds of the sea is covered in ice in winter.

Fauna[change | edit source]

The northern and western parts of the Labrador Sea are covered in ice between December and June. The drift ice serves as a breeding ground for seals in early spring. The sea is also a feeding ground for Atlantic salmon and several marine mammal species. Shrimp fisheries began in 1978, as well as cod fishing. The cod fishing quickly lessened the fish population in the 1990s and was stopped in 1992.[5] Other fishery targets include haddock, Atlantic herring, lobster and several species of flatfish and pelagic fish such as sand lance and capelin. Bigger amounts are in the southern parts of the sea.[6]

The sea has one of the two major stocks of Sei whales, the other one being the Scotian Shelf. Also common are minke and bottlenose whales.[7]

The Labrador Duck was a common bird on the Canadian coast until 19th century, but is now extinct.[8] Coastal animals include the Labrador Wolf,[9][10] caribou, moose, black bear, red fox, arctic fox, wolverine, snowshoe hare, grouse, osprey, raven, ducks, geese, partridge and American wild pheasant.[11][12]

Flora[change | edit source]

Costal vegetation includes black spruce, tamarack, white spruce, dwarf birch, aspen, willow, ericaceous shrubs, cottongrass, sedge, lichens and moss.[12] Evergreen bushes of Labrador tea, which is used to make herbal tea, are common in the area, both on the Greenland and Canadian coasts.[13]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Encyclopædia Britannica. "Labrador Sea". http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9046724/Labrador-Sea. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  2. Peter Calow (12 July 1999). Blackwell's concise encyclopedia of environmental management. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-632-04951-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=0E0LP-pPCWwC&pg=PA7. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  3. Boundary Currents and Watermass Transformation in Marginal Seas
  4. Wilson, R. C. L; London, Geological Society of (2001). "Non-volcanic rifting of continental margins: a comparison of evidence from land and sea". Geological Society, London, Special Publications 187: 77. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2001.187.01.05. ISBN 978-1-86239-091-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=-bsvkxVBTasC&pg=PA77.
  5. The Canadian Encyclopedia. "Labrador Sea". http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004438. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  6. National Research Council (U.S.) (1981). Maritime services to support polar resource development. pp. 6–7. http://books.google.com/books?id=aTcrAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA6.
  7. Anthony Bertram Dickinson, Chesley W. Sanger (2005). Twentieth-century shore-station whaling in Newfoundland and Labrador. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-7735-2881-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=uDMG4kPdcn4C&pg=PA16.
  8. Ducher, William (1894). "The Labrador Duck – another specimen, with additional data respecting extant specimens". Auk 11: 4–12. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v011n01/p0004-p0012.pdf.
  9. E. A. Goldman (1937). "The Wolves of North America". Journal of Mammalogy 18 (1): 37–45. doi:10.2307/1374306.
  10. G.R. Parker and S. Luttich (1986). "Characteristics of the Wolf (Canis lupus lubrudorius Goldman) in Northern Quebec and Labrador". Arctic 39 (2): 145–149. http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic39-2-145.pdf.
  11. Anonymous, (2006). The Moravians in Labrador. pp. 9–11. ISBN 1-4068-0512-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=bwo4J063Q50C&pg=PA9.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Eastern Canadian Shield taiga (NA0606), WorldWildLife.org
  13. Ledum groenlandicum Oeder – Labrador Tea

Other websites[change | edit source]

Media related to Labrador Sea at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 61°N 56°W / 61°N 56°W / 61; -56 (Labrador Sea)