• Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory/Wikimedia Commons
    A polynya off the Antarctic Coast. The Inuit Circumpolar Council are working to save the North Water Polynya, the largest polynya in the Northern Hemisphere. (Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory/Wikimedia Commons)

Members of a special Inuit Circumpolar Council commission tasked with consulting Inuit on how to save the North Water Polynya will this week journey to the Nunavut communities of Grise Fiord and Pond Inlet to begin talks with locals, according to a CBC report.

Like all polynyas, the North Water is a region of largely unfrozen ocean surrounded by sea ice. What makes it special, however, is that at about 80,000 square kilometres, it’s the largest polynya in the Northern Hemisphere and the most biologically productive ecosystem north of the Arctic Circle, providing an important habitat for marine mammals the Inuit rely on.

This infographic, published in the December 2015 issue of Canadian Geographic, explains where and how the polynya forms. Click the image to enlarge

(Infographic: Andy Mora/Canadian Geographic)