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Is Hudson Bay part of the Atlantic Ocean or the Arctic Ocean?

Watching the British show Great Railway Journeys last night I was startled when a guy in Alberta (Jasper/Banff NP) said that from Snow Dome the water flows to 3 oceans. So I knew that couldn't be right because Triple Divide Peak in Glacier NP (the Montana one) makes the same claim, and there can't be two different points that meet this criteria. As an aside at least in the US where I live, the continental divide between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans is called the "Northern Continental Divide" or "Laurentian Divide" as is shown in the green line here. The junction of the red and green lines is Triple Divide Peak in Glacier NP.

So looking into it more I see this other map of watershed divides, and I begin to realize that some people are placing Hudson Bay as part of the Atlantic Ocean! Surely that can't be right.

Posted by
3789 posts

Well, Britannica website states it is part of both. Joins the Atlantic to the NE via Hudson's Strait and the Arctic in the north via Foxe Channel. So the statement is theoretically correct.
Since Triple Divide Peak also flows into Hudson Bay (hot link from your watershed map), then it seems the same criteria applies to both claims.

Posted by
3789 posts

This article discusses the Triple Divide Peak and has the same query.
https://editions.lib.umn.edu/openrivers/article/where-the-water-flows-understanding-glaciers-triple-divide-peak/
Revisiting your Divide maps, one shows a lot of the volume of the Hudson Bay flows into the Labrador Sea which is considered an an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. However, one has to argue just how much of that fresh water really gets out the mouth of the Bay.
But I ask you, why can't both locations make the same claim? In fact, the short Wiki reference for Snow Dome clearly states that both make the claim.

Posted by
26053 posts

is there a reason it must be unique?

Posted by
3236 posts

is there a reason it must be unique?

Yes, can't be ambiguous.

Noting here that the International Hydrographic Association has placed both outlets of Hudson Bay, as well as Hudson Bay itself, as part of the Arctic Ocean.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140202105534/http://www.iho.int/mtg_docs/com_wg/S-23WG/S-23WG_Misc/Draft_2002/S-23_Draft_2002_ARCTIC_OCEAN.doc

Never realized that most of the coast of Norway is considered to be the the Arctic Ocean.

Posted by
12550 posts

Reminds me of the What Countries are in Europe argument. Fascinating. Thanks for the post.

Posted by
6354 posts

Well, I just hope we get a definitive answer soon or I won't have any fingernails left. :-)

Posted by
3236 posts

Well, the International Hydrographic Association is about as definitive as it is going to get. They certainly gave it a great deal of thought.

I suppose I could move on to that great Eurosnobbery injustice, that the 5 rings of the Olympic flag represent the "five" (???, there are 7) continents, and that Europe and Asia, clearly one continent, get two rings, whereas North and South America, clearly 2 continents, only get one ring.

Posted by
26053 posts

Sometimes officialdom disagrees with fact or commonly held belief.

I went to University at McGill University in Montreal. In my first year I had to take a Canadian history and geography course. It has been many years now, and of course my textbooks (remember those) are long long gone. But I remember taking the best part of a month on the Voyageurs in and around northern Quebec and Hudsons Bay (McGill is in Quebec so a disproportionate amount of time was spent on the province, and it was an anniversary year).

Memory can fade or make mistakes of course, but because I love geography and hadn't studied Hudsons Bay previously an awful lot stuck.

I'm sure that I learned that Hudsons Bay was connected to both the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic.

For what its worth....

This was back in the stone age when classes at McGill were still all in English (had to go over the hill to UdeM for French) and lasers were new and we didn't have any quarks, strange or otherwise.

Posted by
26053 posts

North and South America, clearly 2 continents, only get one ring.

Anybody miss out Central America? Maybe 3?

Posted by
3236 posts

I'm sure that I learned that Hudsons Bay was connected to both the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic.

See the Word doc linked above. The Arctic Ocean slides all the way down the west coast of Greenland, including even a part of extreme northern Labrador. The bodies of water leading to Hudson Bay from the east, Hudson Straight and Davis Straight, are part of the Arctic Ocean.

Posted by
2275 posts

I suppose I could move on to that great Eurosnobbery injustice, that
the 5 rings of the Olympic flag represent the "five" (???, there are
7) continents, and that Europe and Asia, clearly one continent, get
two rings, whereas North and South America, clearly 2 continents, only
get one ring.

There is no clear definition on what a continent is, and depending on your definition there are 4, 5, 6 or 7 continents on earth.

Posted by
6354 posts

The five rings on the Olympic flag aren't meant to represent all the continents. According to the history of the meaning behind the flag: "The five rings represented the five participating continents of the time: Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Oceania." And I believe that 'at the time' refers to 1915 when the flag was adopted as the official flag.

Posted by
7618 posts

“The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.” (Olympic Charter, Rule 8)

https://www.olympic.org/olympic-rings

I could not find their listing that defined/identified the 'five'.

I suspect the logical list: 1) Eurasia, 2) Africa, 3) N America, 4) S America, 5) Australia, is not what Pierre had in mind.( "great Eurosnobbery" injustice)? Hmm..........

Now, back to ocean, ocean, which is the ocean?

Posted by
16165 posts

Rolls off the tongue better than Asiaopa.

So looking into it more I see this other map of watershed divides, and I begin to realize that some people are placing Hudson Bay as part of the Atlantic Ocean! Surely that can't be right.

The "other map" is the correct one and I would certainly classify Hudson Bay as part of the Atlantic as the Labrador Sea is part of the Atlantic. So that makes Snow Dome the point where water flows into three separate oceans.

Posted by
3236 posts

It appears that the Olympic Committee has changed their tune, originally the rings represented:

"Blue for Europe, Black for Africa, Red for Americas (North & South), Yellow for Asia and Green for Oceania (Australia and all outlying islands)." I guess with the racial connotations of redskins and yellow skins, etc., they had to change it.

I've always considered the term "The Americas" to be pejorative and I won't use it.

Somewhere I read that English and German speakers consider North and South America different continents, but French and Spanish speakers consider them one.

As to the Arctic Ocean, I think the International Hydrographic Association's 60 degree north default border (looking at the whole world and not just the coast of Canada, especially the border from Norway to the Faroe Islands to Iceland to Greenland) makes the most most sense. I can find several different map schemes online for the Arctic Ocean and they all include Hudson Bay and both outlets. Conversely, I can find several different map schemes of the Atlantic Ocean and none of them shows Hudson Bay or either outlet, this is typical. https://www.whatarethe7continents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/atlantic-ocean-map-1.png

In Australia and NZ there is considered to be a fifth ocean ("Southern" or "Antarctic"), which is unbound by land masses, and uses the 60 degree south designation, as opposed to the 60 degree north one used for the Arctic Ocean, so there's some symmetry there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Ocean#/media/File:Location_Southern_Ocean.svg

Posted by
12550 posts

I've always considered the term "The Americas" to be pejorative and I
won't use it.

Just curious, why?

Posted by
3236 posts

Just curious, why?

Well, it's not a term a native would use to describe their own territory, so there's that. It appears to have been invented by people living elsewhere, perhaps the English form of a French term. I think people always bristle at terms foreigners invent to describe other people's homes. Until about 2000 I had never heard the term, the preferred term for North and South America together used to be "Western Hemisphere" or "New World" and I would still consider them preferred, as in "Opossums are a New World species." I will say that the concept of an eastern and western hemisphere has not always been understood by Europeans, for me anyway.

Posted by
6354 posts

I've always considered the term "The Americas" to be pejorative and I
won't use it.

Odd, I don't find the term The Americas to be pejorative at all. Pejorative - expressing contempt or disapproval. I think the name Americas was not used as a sign of contempt or disapproval, rather it was used to honor someone. We may or may not agree that it's a good name, but really? Pejorative?

And since it encompasses North, South, and Central America it makes sense to say 'The Americas' (plural). And why would 'The New World' make any more sense - The Americas aren't any 'newer' than Europe, Asia, or Africa. Of course you can debate what is meant by the term 'new' when used to describe a continent or continents.

Posted by
3789 posts

...and as a Canadian therefore from 'the Americas' don't even get me started about the title 'American' only applying to people from the US of A ;-)

Posted by
12550 posts

Im good with a new name. Which of the several hundred first indigenous languages should we go to for a name? Personally I would just call it "Bob", but I dont suppose thats an option.

Posted by
3236 posts

Then there’s the awkwardness of “The Americas” which doesn’t work well in English, unlike say French where it’s normal syntax.

I was using pejorative more in the sense of belittling. Incidentally, did you know that “belittle” was introduced to the English language from The Americas?

Posted by
7618 posts

The land mass(es) ("TLM" ) which have the Pacific Ocean to its/their west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, is inhabited by migrants or descendants of migrants. Its only a matter of 'when' the immigration occurred.

How one could determine what language and name is most appropriate for the (re)naming of "TLM", looks to be a journey into a black hole.

And to think the original topic was how ways is downhill from a spot, it is amazing to see the (d)evolution of the discussion.

Obviously the webmaster has other things to do or this topic would be in danger of obliteration
(Rule 1 Stay on topic. Make your contribution relevant to the original post.)

Mea culpa ... I am casting no stones, but this glass house could use some curtains.