Nares Strait

Situated between northernmost Canada and Greenland, Nares Strait is a key location within the Arctic’s Last Ice Area. On a summer day in the not too distant future, the last sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere will leave the Arctic through this Strait. To understand how this will unfold, one has to be able to visualize the Arctic Ocean. This is hard to do with a typical world map. But if one examines a globe, it is plain to see that the Arctic Ocean is almost completely surrounded by landmasses. Circulation between the Arctic and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is limited to just a few inlets and outlets. Nares Strait is one of those outlets, a place where powerful currents coalesce to push cold Arctic Ocean waters southward.

Nares Strait is narrow, and in the summer, when the ice breaks up, an incredible rush of sea ice flows into the channel. That ice floats south, past rugged polar mountains that rise above both eastern and western shores. Above the peaks, the Greenland Icecap glistens in the sun. Massive glaciers terminate in the Strait, and the crash of icebergs breaking into the sea can be heard for miles. These new icebergs join the pack ice in the southward drift. With icebound shores and an abundance of marine wildlife, this is truly a dynamic place, a spectacular setting for a wilderness expedition.