Even though the land has been covered with some snow and the lakes are covered in ice, the ocean has been much slower in fully developed ice because of current and a snow blanket.

Nunavut News columnist Harry Maksagak

As we are aware, saltwater is much heavier than freshwater because of the salinity content, therefore it takes longer for a safe thickness for traveling on.

This is a time of caution and awareness and conversing with the experienced hunters, users of the land and sea ice, and most importantly, our elders. The hunters and trappers organizations have a wealth of knowledge as their groups share information on their return from being out on the land, lakes and sea ice.

The weather pattern during this early season of winter also has an effect on the ice formation. A fresh snowfall acts as a blanket and insulates the ice, slowing the thickening of the newly formed ice. Water movement under the ice in currents and a steady wind all connect in this phenomenon. As stewards of this land, we’ve noticed, too, the temperature variation and much milder fall and winter readings are observed from previous years.

The term “global warming” is not just an abstract expression, but a fact of reality. Nunavut and the NWT supply electricity throughout both territories using fossil fuels to generate power, and this has been part of the contributing factor in the increased warming effect of the land and the environment, not to mention affecting the animals. There has been an explosion of cars and trucks and snow machines, and as minimal an effect as these may seem to have, they too contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions.

As expressed earlier, this is a time of caution and awareness and making sure that any and all information shared is taken into account for your own safety.

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