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The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major
ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large bodies of water into which the great ocean is divided".
s. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The
International Hydrographic Organization The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental organisation representing hydrography. As of December 2021 the IHO comprised 96 Member States. A principal aim of the IHO is to ensure that the world's seas, oceans and ...
(IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some
oceanographers Oceanography (compound of the Greek language, Greek words ὠκεανός meaning "ocean" and γράφω meaning "Writing, write"), also known as oceanology, is the study of the physical and biological aspects of the ocean. It is an important Ea ...
call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea. It has been described approximately as an
estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed Coast, coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime envir ...

estuary
of the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
. It is also seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing
World Ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.North Pole Sea ice in 2006 as observed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration North Pole Web Cam, part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is ...
region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere and extends south to about 60°N. The Arctic Ocean is surrounded by
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a ...

Eurasia
and
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, and the borders follow topographic features: the Bering Strait on the Pacific side and the Greenland Scotland Ridge on the Atlantic side. It is mostly covered by
sea ice Sea ice arises as seawater freezes. Because ice is less dense than water, it floats on the ocean's surface (as does fresh water ice, which has an even lower density). Sea ice covers about 7% of the Earth's surface and about 12% of the world's ...

sea ice
throughout the year and almost completely in
winter Winter is the est of the year in and . It occurs between and . The tilt of Earth's axis causes seasons; winter occurs when a is oriented away from the . Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a de ...

winter
. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and
salinity Salinity () is the saltiness or amount of dissolved in a body of , called (see also ). It is usually measured in g/L or g/kg (grams of salt per liter/kilogram of water; the latter is dimensionless and equal to ‰). Salinity is an important ...

salinity
vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low
evaporation Evaporation is a type of that occurs on the of a as it changes into the gas phase. The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other bas ...

evaporation
, heavy
fresh water Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in ...

fresh water
inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities. The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50 %. The US
National Snow and Ice Data Center 150px, right The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in Nor ...
(NSIDC) uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years, showing a continuous decline in sea ice extent. In September 2012, the Arctic ice extent reached a new record minimum. Compared to the average extent (1979–2000), the sea ice had diminished by 49 %.


History


North America

Human habitation in the North American polar region goes back at least 17,000–50,000 years, during the
Wisconsin glaciation The Wisconsin Glacial Episode, also called the Wisconsin glaciation, was the most recent glacial period of the North American ice sheet complex. This advance included the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which nucleated in the northern North American Cordil ...
. At this time, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the
Bering land bridge Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River The Lena (russian: link=no, Ле́на, ; evn, Елюенэ, ''Eljune''; sah, Өлүөнэ, ''Ölüöne''; bua, Зүлхэ, ''Zülkhe''; mn, З ...
that joined
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been Russian conquest of Siberia, part of modern Russia since the latter half of th ...

Siberia
to northwestern North America (Alaska), leading to the
Settlement of the Americas The settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek wikt:παλαιός, palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehi ...
. Early Paleo-Eskimo groups included the
Pre-DorsetThe Pre-Dorset is a loosely defined term for a Paleo-Eskimo The Paleo-Eskimo (also pre-Thule or pre-Inuit) were the peoples who inhabited the Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arcti ...
(); the
Saqqaq culture The Saqqaq culture (named after the Saqqaq settlement, the site of many archaeological finds) was a Paleo-Eskimo culture in southern Greenland. Up to this day, no other people seem to have lived in Greenland continually for as long as the Saqqaq. ...
of Greenland (2500–800 BC); the Independence I and
Independence II culture 250px, Areas of Independence I and Independence II cultures around Independence Fjord Independence II was a Paleo-Eskimo The Paleo-Eskimo (also pre-Thule or pre-Inuit) were the peoples who inhabited the Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a pol ...
s of northeastern Canada and Greenland ( and ); and the Groswater of
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Province A province is al ...

Labrador
and
Nunavik Nunavik (; ; iu, ᓄᓇᕕᒃ) comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, part of the Nord-du-Québec region and nearly Wiktionary:coterminous#Adjective, coterminous with Kativik, Quebec, Kativik. Covering a land area of north of ...
. The Dorset culture spread across Arctic North America between 500 BC and AD 1500). The Dorset were the last major Paleo-Eskimo culture in the Arctic before the migration east from present-day
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
of the
Thule Thule ( grc-gre, Θούλη, Thoúlē; la, Thūlē) is the farthest north location mentioned in ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
, the ancestors of the modern Inuit. The
Thule Tradition The Thule (, , ) or proto-Inuit were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. They developed in coastal Alaska by the year 1000 and expanded eastward across northern Canada, reaching Greenland by the 13th century. In the process, they replaced people of ...
lasted from about 200 BC to AD 1600, arising around the Bering Strait and later encompassing almost the entire Arctic region of North America. The Thule people were the ancestors of the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
, who now live in
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
,
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (commonly abbreviated as NT or NWT; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is a federal territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...

Northwest Territories
,
Nunavut Nunavut ( ) ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) is the newest, largest, and northernmost territory of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories exten ...
,
northern QuebecNorthern Quebec (french: le nord du Québec) is a geographic term denoting the northerly, more remote and less populated parts of the Canada, Canadian province of Quebec.Alexandre Robaey"Charity group works with Indigenous communities to feed Norther ...
,
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Province A province is al ...

Labrador
and
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
.


Europe

For much of
European history The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of written records. During the Neolith ...
, the north
polar region Northern Hemisphere permafrost (permanently frozen ground) in purple The Polar Regions, also called the frigid zones Zone or The Zone may refer to: Places Climate and altitude zones * Death zone (originally the lethal zone), altitudes above a ...
s remained largely unexplored and their geography conjectural.
Pytheas Pytheas of Massalia (; Ancient Greek: Πυθέας ὁ Μασσαλιώτης ''Pythéas ho Massaliōtēs''; Latin: ''Pytheas Massiliensis''; born 350 BC, 320–306 BC) was a Greeks, Greek List of Graeco-Roman geographers, geographer, explore ...
of
Massilia Massalia (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as o ...

Massilia
recorded an account of a journey northward in 325 BC, to a land he called " Eschate Thule", where the Sun only set for three hours each day and the water was replaced by a congealed substance "on which one can neither walk nor sail". He was probably describing loose sea ice known today as "" or "bergy bits"; his "Thule" was probably
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, though the
Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands ( ), or simply the Faroes or Faeroes ( fo, Føroyar ; da, Færøerne ), are a North Atlantic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of is ...

Faroe Islands
or
Shetland Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or co ...

Shetland
have also been suggested. Early
cartographers Cartography (; from Greek language, Greek χάρτης ''chartēs'', "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and γράφειν ''graphein'', "write") is the study and practice of making and using maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, ca ...
were unsure whether to draw the region around the North Pole as land (as in Johannes Ruysch's map of 1507, or
Gerardus Mercator Gerardus Mercator (; 5 March 1512 – 2 December 1594) was a 16th-century geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist or humanist whose area of study is geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

Gerardus Mercator
's map of 1595) or water (as with Martin Waldseemüller's world map of 1507). The fervent desire of European merchants for a northern passage, the
Northern Sea Route The Northern Sea Route (russian: Се́верный морско́й путь, ''Severnyy morskoy put'', shortened to Севморпуть, ''Sevmorput'') is a shipping route officially defined by Russian legislation as lying east of Novaya Ze ...
or the
Northwest Passage File:The Arctic Regions, showing the North-West Passage as determined by Cap. R. McClure and other Arctic Voyagers. 1856. CTASC.jpg, Two maps of arctic regions published in 1856 on a single sheet as part of ''The Royal Illustrated Atlas of Moder ...

Northwest Passage
, to "
Cathay Cathay () is an alternative European historical name for China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, ...

Cathay
" (
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
) caused water to win out, and by 1723 mapmakers such as Johann Homann featured an extensive "Oceanus Septentrionalis" at the northern edge of their charts. The few expeditions to penetrate much beyond the
Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two s and the most northerly of the five major as shown on maps of . It marks the northernmost point at which the center of the sun is just visible on the and the southernmost point at which the center of the ...

Arctic Circle
in that era added only small islands, such as
Novaya Zemlya Novaya Zemlya (, also , ; rus, Но́вая Земля́, p=ˈnovəjə zʲɪmˈlʲa, ) is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea ...

Novaya Zemlya
(11th century) and
Spitzbergen Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic ...
(1596), though, since these were often surrounded by
pack-ice Image:Greenland East Coast 7.jpg, Drift ice, Greenland Drift ice, also called brash ice, is sea ice that is not attached to the shoreline or any other fixed object (shoals, grounded icebergs, etc.).Leppäranta, M. 2011. The Drift of Sea Ice. Berli ...
, their northern limits were not so clear. The makers of , more conservative than some of the more fanciful cartographers, tended to leave the region blank, with only fragments of known coastline sketched in.


19th Century

This lack of knowledge of what lay north of the shifting barrier of ice gave rise to a number of conjectures. In England and other European nations, the
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

myth
of an "
Open Polar Sea 300px, Silas Bent's 1872 map of the supposed "Open Polar Sea" The Open Polar Sea was a hypothesized ice-free ocean surrounding the North Pole. This unproved and eventually-disproved theory was once so widely believed that many exploring expedition ...
" was persistent. John Barrow, longtime Second Secretary of the
British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the principal units through which it exercises executive authority; a few of them are titled Ministry (government department), mi ...
, promoted exploration of the region from 1818 to 1845 in search of this. In the United States in the 1850s and 1860s, the explorers
Elisha Kane Elisha Kent Kane (February 3, 1820 – February 16, 1857) was an American explorer, and a medical officer in the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors ...

Elisha Kane
and
Isaac Israel Hayes Isaac Israel Hayes (March 5, 1832 – December 17, 1881) was an American Arctic explorer, physician, and politician, who was appointed as the commanding officer at Satterlee General Hospital during the American Civil War, and was then elected, po ...

Isaac Israel Hayes
both claimed to have seen part of this elusive body of water. Even quite late in the century, the eminent authority
Matthew Fontaine Maury Matthew Fontaine Maury (January 14, 1806February 1, 1873) was an American astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astro ...

Matthew Fontaine Maury
included a description of the Open Polar Sea in his textbook ''The Physical Geography of the Sea'' (1883). Nevertheless, as all the explorers who travelled closer and closer to the pole reported, the
polar ice cap A polar ice cap or polar cap is a high-latitude In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north– south position of a point on the Earth's surface. Latitude is an angle (defined below) which ranges from 0° at ...
is quite thick, and persists year-round.
Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (; 10 October 1861 – 13 May 1930) was a Norwegian polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, ...

Fridtjof Nansen
was the first to make a
nautical Seamanship is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of wha ...
crossing of the Arctic Ocean, in 1896.


20th Century

The first surface crossing of the ocean was led by
Wally Herbert Sir Walter William Herbert (24 October 1934 – 12 June 2007) was a British polar explorer, writer and artist. In 1969 he became the first man fully recognized for walking to the North Pole Sea ice in 2006 as observed from the National Oc ...
in 1969, in a
dog sled A dog sled or dog sleigh is a sled A sled, sledge, or sleigh is a land vehicle that slides across a surface, usually of ice or snow. It is built with either a smooth underside or a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively na ...

dog sled
expedition from
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
to
Svalbard Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic ...

Svalbard
, with air support. The first nautical transit of the north pole was made in 1958 by the submarine USS ''Nautilus'', and the first surface nautical transit occurred in 1977 by the
icebreaker An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, rese ...
NS ''Arktika''. Since 1937,
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
and Russian manned
drifting ice station Soviet and Russian staffed drifting ice stations are research stations built on the ice of the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. It spans an area of approxi ...
s have extensively monitored the Arctic Ocean. Scientific settlements were established on the drift ice and carried thousands of kilometres by ice floes. In
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the European region of the Arctic Ocean was heavily contested: the was opposed by German naval and air forces. Since 1954 commercial airlines have flown over the Arctic Ocean (see
Polar route A polar route is an aircraft route across the uninhabited polar ice cap regions. The term "polar route" was originally applied to great circle navigation routes between Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several larg ...
).


Geography

The Arctic Ocean occupies a roughly circular basin and covers an area of about , almost the size of
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
. The coastline is long. It is the only
ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large bodies of water into which the great ocean is divided".
smaller than
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, which has a land area of . It is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America (including
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
), and Iceland. It is generally taken to include
Baffin Bay Baffin Bay (Inuktitut: ''Saknirutiak Imanga''; kl, Avannaata Imaa; french: Baie de Baffin), located between Baffin Island and the west coast of Greenland, is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization as a marginal sea of the Arctic ...
,
Barents Sea The Barents Sea ( , also ; no, Barentshavet, ; russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean, including marginal seas, areas of water, various gulfs, bights, bays, and stra ...
,
Beaufort Sea The Beaufort Sea (; french: Mer de Beaufort) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, and west of Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after Sir Fr ...

Beaufort Sea
,
Chukchi Sea Chukchi Sea ( rus, Чуко́тское мо́ре, r=Chukotskoye more, p=tɕʊˈkotskəjə ˈmorʲɪ), sometimes referred to as the Chuuk Sea, Chukotsk Sea or the Sea of Chukotsk, is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is t ...

Chukchi Sea
,
East Siberian Sea The East Siberian Sea ( rus, Восто́чно-Сиби́рское мо́ре, r=Vostochno-Sibirskoye more) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape to the north, the coast of Siberia to the south, the New Sib ...
,
Greenland Sea The Greenland Sea is a body of water that borders Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous territory* * * within the Danish Realm and the List of islands by area, ...
, Iceland Sea,
Norwegian Sea The Norwegian Sea ( no, Norskehavet; is, Noregshaf) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean, including marginal seas, areas of water, various gulfs, bights, bays, and straits. Terminology * Ocean The ocean (als ...
,
Hudson Bay Hudson Bay ( iu, text=ᑲᖏᖅᓱᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᓗᐊ, translit=Kangiqsualuk ilua or iu, text=ᑕᓯᐅᔭᕐᔪᐊᖅ, translit=Tasiujarjuaq; french: baie d'Hudson), sometimes called Hudson's Bay (usually historically), is a large body of sal ...
,
Hudson Strait Image:HBC-Upper Savage Islands-Hudson Strait.jpg, The Hudson's Bay Company ships ''Prince of Wales'' and bartering with the Inuit off the Upper Savage Islands, Hudson Strait; by Robert Hood (1819) Hudson Strait links the Atlantic Ocean and Labra ...
,
Kara Sea The Kara Sea (russian: Ка́рское мо́ре, ''Karskoye more'') is part of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as t ...
,
Laptev Sea The Laptev Sea ( rus, Мо́ре Ла́птевых, r=More Laptevykh; sah, Лаптевтар Байҕаллара, translit=Laptevtar Baỹğallara) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the ...
,
White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Vienanmeri, lit. Dvina Sea; yrk, Сэрако ямʼ, ''Serako yam'') is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of ...
and other tributary bodies of water. It is connected to the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents o ...

Pacific Ocean
by the
Bering Strait The Bering Strait (russian: Берингов пролив) is a of the , which separates and the slightly south of the at about 65° 40' N . The present Russia-US east–west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait is named after , a Dani ...
and to the Atlantic Ocean through the
Greenland Sea The Greenland Sea is a body of water that borders Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous territory* * * within the Danish Realm and the List of islands by area, ...
and
Labrador Sea The Labrador Sea (French: ''mer du Labrador'', Danish: ''Labradorhavet'') is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Labrador Peninsula and Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is the world's largest isla ...
. Countries bordering the Arctic Ocean are: Russia, Norway, Iceland, Greenland (territory of the Kingdom of Denmark), Canada and the United States.


Extent and major ports

There are several ports and
harbour A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engl ...

harbour
s on the Arctic Ocean.Arctic Ocean
CIA World Fact Book


United States

In Alaska, the main ports are Utqiaġvik (Barrow) () and
Prudhoe Bay Prudhoe Bay or Sagavanirktok is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have ...
().


Canada

In
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
, ships may anchor at
Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highe ...
(
Port of Churchill The Port of Churchill is a privately-owned port on Hudson Bay in Churchill, Manitoba, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Routes from the port connect to the North Atlantic through the Hudson Strait. , the port had four deep-sea berths capable of handlin ...
) () in
Manitoba Manitoba ( ) is a Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada at the Centre of Canada, longitudinal centre of the country. It is Canada's Population of Canada by province and territory, fifth-most populous province, with a population o ...

Manitoba
, (
Nanisivik Naval Facility HMCS ''Ville de Québec'' departing NNF after conducting trials on 15 August 2019 The Nanisivik Naval Facility is a Canadian Forces Navy, naval Canadian Forces base, facility on Baffin Island, Nunavut. The station is built at the former lead- ...
) () in
Nunavut Nunavut ( ) ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) is the newest, largest, and northernmost territory of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories exten ...
, and Tuktoyaktuk () and Inuvik () in the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (commonly abbreviated as NT or NWT; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is a federal territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...

Northwest Territories
.


Greenland

In Greenland, the main port is at Nuuk (Nuuk Port and Harbour) ().


Norway

In
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, Kirkenes () and Vardø () are ports on the mainland. Also, there is Longyearbyen () on
Svalbard Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic ...

Svalbard
, a Norwegian archipelago, next to Fram Strait.


Russia

In Russia, major ports sorted by the different sea areas are: * Murmansk () in the Barents Sea; * Arkhangelsk () in the White Sea; * Labytnangi (), Salekhard (), Dudinka (), Igarka () and Dikson (urban-type settlement), Dikson () in the Kara Sea; * Tiksi () in the Laptev Sea; and * Pevek () in the East Siberian Sea.


Arctic shelves

The ocean's Arctic shelf comprises a number of continental shelf, continental shelves, including the Canadian Arctic shelf, underlying the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and the Continental shelf of Russia, Russian continental shelf, which is sometimes simply called the "Arctic Shelf" because it is greater in extent. The Russian continental shelf consists of three separate, smaller shelves: the Barents Shelf, Chukchi Sea Shelf and Siberian Shelf. Of these three, the Siberian Shelf is the largest such shelf in the world; it holds large oil and gas reserves. The Chukchi shelf forms the border between Russian and the United States as stated in the USSR–USA Maritime Boundary Agreement. The whole area is subject to international Territorial claims in the Arctic, territorial claims.


Underwater features

An Mid-ocean ridge, underwater ridge, the Lomonosov Ridge, divides the deep sea Arctic Basin, North Polar Basin into two oceanic basins: the Eurasian Basin, which is deep, and the Amerasian Basin (sometimes called the North American or Hyperborean Basin), which is about deep. The bathymetry of the ocean bottom is marked by fault block ridges, abyssal plains, Oceanic trench, ocean deeps, and basins. The average depth of the Arctic Ocean is . The deepest point is Molloy Hole in the Fram Strait, at about . The two major basins are further subdivided by ridges into the Canada Basin (between Beaufort Shelf of North America and the Alpha Ridge), Makarov Basin (between the Alpha and Lomonosov Ridges), Amundsen Basin (between Lomonosov and Gakkel Ridge, Gakkel ridges), and Nansen Basin (between the Gakkel Ridge and the continental shelf that includes the Franz Josef Land).


Exclusive economic zone

Exclusive economic zones in Arctic Ocean: Note: Some parts of the areas listed in the table are located in the . Other consists of Gulfs, Straits, Channel (geography), Channels and other parts without specific names and excludes Exclusive Economic Zones.


Biggest seas in the Arctic Ocean

The largest seas in the Arctic Ocean: #
Barents Sea The Barents Sea ( , also ; no, Barentshavet, ; russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean, including marginal seas, areas of water, various gulfs, bights, bays, and stra ...
—1.4 million km2 #
Greenland Sea The Greenland Sea is a body of water that borders Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous territory* * * within the Danish Realm and the List of islands by area, ...
—1.205 million km2 #
East Siberian Sea The East Siberian Sea ( rus, Восто́чно-Сиби́рское мо́ре, r=Vostochno-Sibirskoye more) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape to the north, the coast of Siberia to the south, the New Sib ...
—987,000 km2 #
Kara Sea The Kara Sea (russian: Ка́рское мо́ре, ''Karskoye more'') is part of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as t ...
—926,000 km2 #
Laptev Sea The Laptev Sea ( rus, Мо́ре Ла́птевых, r=More Laptevykh; sah, Лаптевтар Байҕаллара, translit=Laptevtar Baỹğallara) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the ...
—662,000 km2 #
Chukchi Sea Chukchi Sea ( rus, Чуко́тское мо́ре, r=Chukotskoye more, p=tɕʊˈkotskəjə ˈmorʲɪ), sometimes referred to as the Chuuk Sea, Chukotsk Sea or the Sea of Chukotsk, is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is t ...

Chukchi Sea
—620,000 km2 #
Beaufort Sea The Beaufort Sea (; french: Mer de Beaufort) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, and west of Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after Sir Fr ...

Beaufort Sea
—476,000 km2 # Amundsen Gulf #
White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Vienanmeri, lit. Dvina Sea; yrk, Сэрако ямʼ, ''Serako yam'') is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of ...
—90,000 km2 # Pechora Sea—81,263 km2 # Lincoln Sea—64,000 km2 # Prince Gustaf Adolf Sea # Queen Victoria Sea # Wandel Sea


Geology

The crystalline basement rocks of mountains around the Arctic Ocean were recrystallized or formed during the Ellesmerian orogeny, the regional phase of the larger Caledonian orogeny in the Paleozoic Era. Regional subsidence in the Jurassic and Triassic periods led to significant sediment deposition, creating many of the reservoirs for current day oil and gas deposits. During the Cretaceous period, the Canadian Basin opened and tectonic activity due to the assembly of Alaska caused hydrocarbons to migrate toward what is now Prudhoe Bay. At the same time, sediments shed off the rising Canadian Rockies built out the large Mackenzie Delta. The rifting apart of the supercontinent Pangea, beginning in the Triassic period, opened the early Atlantic Ocean. Rifting then extended northward, opening the Arctic Ocean as mafic oceanic crust material erupted out of a branch of Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Amerasia Basin may have opened first, with the Chukchi Plateau, Chukchi Borderland moved along to the northeast by transform faults. Additional spreading helped to create the "triple-junction" of the Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge in the Late Cretaceous Epoch (geology), epoch. Throughout the Cenozoic Era, the subduction of the Pacific plate, the collision of India with Eurasia and the continued opening of the North Atlantic created new hydrocarbon traps. The seafloor began spreading from the Gakkel Ridge in the Paleocene Epoch and the Eocene Epoch, causing the Lomonosov Ridge to move farther from land and subside. Because of sea ice and remote conditions, the geology of the Arctic Ocean is still poorly explored. The Arctic Coring Expedition drilling shed some light on the Lomonosov Ridge, which appears to be continental crust separated from the Barents-Kara Shelf in the Paleocene and then starved of sediment. It may contain up to 10 billion barrels of oil. The Gakkel Ridge rift is also poorly understand and may extend into the Laptev Sea.


Oceanography


Water flow

In large parts of the Arctic Ocean, the top layer (about ) is of lower salinity and lower temperature than the rest. It remains relatively stable, because the salinity effect on density is bigger than the temperature effect. It is fed by the freshwater input of the big Siberian and Canadian rivers (Ob River, Ob, Yenisei River, Yenisei, Lena River, Lena, Mackenzie River, Mackenzie), the water of which quasi floats on the saltier, denser, deeper ocean water. Between this lower salinity layer and the bulk of the ocean lies the so-called halocline, in which both salinity and temperature rise with increasing depth. Because of its relative isolation from other oceans, the Arctic Ocean has a uniquely complex system of water flow. It resembles some hydrological features of the Mediterranean Sea, referring to its deep waters having only limited communication through the Fram Strait with the Atlantic Basin, "where the circulation is dominated by thermohaline forcing”.[Regional Oceanography: An Introduction. Tomczak, Godfrey. Retrieved 18 November 2013.] The Arctic Ocean has a total volume of 18.07 × 106 km3, equal to about 1.3 % of the World Ocean. Mean surface circulation is predominately cyclonic on the Eurasian side and anticyclonic in the Canadian Basin. Water enters from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and can be divided into three unique water masses. The deepest water mass is called Arctic Bottom Water and begins around depth. It is composed of the densest water in the World Ocean and has two main sources: Arctic shelf water and Greenland Sea Deep Water. Water in the shelf region that begins as inflow from the Pacific passes through the narrow
Bering Strait The Bering Strait (russian: Берингов пролив) is a of the , which separates and the slightly south of the at about 65° 40' N . The present Russia-US east–west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait is named after , a Dani ...
at an average rate of 0.8 Sverdrup, Sverdrups and reaches the
Chukchi Sea Chukchi Sea ( rus, Чуко́тское мо́ре, r=Chukotskoye more, p=tɕʊˈkotskəjə ˈmorʲɪ), sometimes referred to as the Chuuk Sea, Chukotsk Sea or the Sea of Chukotsk, is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is t ...

Chukchi Sea
.Arctic Ocean Circulation: Going Around at the Top of the World. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
/ref> During the winter, cold Alaskan winds blow over the Chukchi Sea, freezing the surface water and pushing this newly formed ice out to the Pacific. The speed of the ice drift is roughly 1–4 cm/s. This process leaves dense, salty waters in the sea that sink over the continental shelf into the western Arctic Ocean and create a halocline.Arctic Ocean Circulation
Polar Discovery
This water is met by Greenland Sea Deep Water, which forms during the passage of winter storms. As temperatures cool dramatically in the winter, ice forms and intense vertical convection allows the water to become dense enough to sink below the warm saline water below. Arctic Bottom Water is critically important because of its outflow, which contributes to the formation of Atlantic Deep Water. The overturning of this water plays a key role in global circulation and the moderation of climate. In the depth range of is a water mass referred to as Atlantic Water. Inflow from the North Atlantic Current enters through the Fram Strait, cooling and sinking to form the deepest layer of the halocline, where it circles the Arctic Basin counter-clockwise. This is the highest volumetric inflow to the Arctic Ocean, equalling about 10 times that of the Pacific inflow, and it creates the Arctic Ocean Boundary Current. It flows slowly, at about 0.02 m/s. Atlantic Water has the same salinity as Arctic Bottom Water but is much warmer (up to ). In fact, this water mass is actually warmer than the surface water, and remains submerged only due to the role of salinity in density. When water reaches the basin, it is pushed by strong winds into a large circular current called the Beaufort Gyre. Water in the Beaufort Gyre is far less saline than that of the Chukchi Sea due to inflow from large Canadian and Siberian rivers. The final defined water mass in the Arctic Ocean is called Arctic Surface Water and is found in the depth range of . The most important feature of this water mass is a section referred to as the sub-surface layer. It is a product of Atlantic water that enters through canyons and is subjected to intense mixing on the Siberian Shelf. As it is entrained, it cools and acts a heat shield for the surface layer. This insulation keeps the warm Atlantic Water from melting the surface ice. Additionally, this water forms the swiftest currents of the Arctic, with speed of around 0.3–0.6 m/s. Complementing the water from the canyons, some Pacific water that does not sink to the shelf region after passing through the Bering Strait also contributes to this water mass. Waters originating in the Pacific and Atlantic both exit through the Fram Strait between
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
and Svalbard Island, which is about deep and wide. This outflow is about 9 Sv. The width of the Fram Strait is what allows for both inflow and outflow on the Atlantic side of the Arctic Ocean. Because of this, it is influenced by the Coriolis force, which concentrates outflow to the East Greenland Current on the western side and inflow to the Norwegian Current on the eastern side. Pacific water also exits along the west coast of Greenland and the
Hudson Strait Image:HBC-Upper Savage Islands-Hudson Strait.jpg, The Hudson's Bay Company ships ''Prince of Wales'' and bartering with the Inuit off the Upper Savage Islands, Hudson Strait; by Robert Hood (1819) Hudson Strait links the Atlantic Ocean and Labra ...
(1–2 Sv), providing nutrients to the Canadian Archipelago. As noted, the process of ice formation and movement is a key driver in Arctic Ocean circulation and the formation of water masses. With this dependence, the Arctic Ocean experiences variations due to seasonal changes in sea ice cover. Sea ice movement is the result of wind forcing, which is related to a number of meteorological conditions that the Arctic experiences throughout the year. For example, the Beaufort High—an extension of the Siberian High system—is a pressure system that drives the anticyclonic motion of the Beaufort Gyre. During the summer, this area of high pressure is pushed out closer to its Siberian and Canadian sides. In addition, there is a sea level pressure (SLP) ridge over Greenland that drives strong northerly winds through the Fram Strait, facilitating ice export. In the summer, the SLP contrast is smaller, producing weaker winds. A final example of seasonal pressure system movement is the low pressure system that exists over the Nordic and Barents Seas. It is an extension of the Icelandic Low, which creates cyclonic ocean circulation in this area. The low shifts to centre over the North Pole in the summer. These variations in the Arctic all contribute to ice drift reaching its weakest point during the summer months. There is also evidence that the drift is associated with the phase of the Arctic Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.


Sea ice

Much of the Arctic Ocean is covered by sea ice that varies in extent and thickness seasonally. The mean extent of the Arctic sea ice has been continuously decreasing in the last decades, declining at a rate of currently 12.85% per decade since 1980 from the average winter value of . The seasonal variations are about , with the maximum in April and minimum in September. The sea ice is affected by wind and ocean currents, which can move and rotate very large areas of ice. Zones of compression also arise, where the ice piles up to form pack ice. Icebergs occasionally break away from northern Ellesmere Island, and icebergs are formed from glaciers in western Greenland and extreme northeastern Canada. Icebergs are not sea ice but may become embedded in the pack ice. Icebergs pose a hazard to ships, of which the RMS Titanic, ''Titanic'' is one of the most famous. The ocean is virtually icelocked from October to June, and the superstructure of ships are subject to Icing (nautical), icing from October to May. Before the advent of modern
icebreaker An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, rese ...
s, ships sailing the Arctic Ocean risked being trapped or crushed by sea ice (although the ''SS Baychimo, Baychimo'' drifted through the Arctic Ocean untended for decades despite these hazards).


Climate

The Arctic Ocean is contained in a polar climate characterized by persistent cold and relatively narrow annual temperature ranges. Winters are characterized by the polar night, extreme cold, frequent low-level temperature inversions, and stable weather conditions. Cyclones are only common on the Atlantic side. Summers are characterized by continuous daylight (midnight sun), and air temperatures can rise slightly above . Cyclones are more frequent in summer and may bring rain or snow. It is cloudy year-round, with mean cloud cover ranging from 60% in winter to over 80% in summer. The temperature of the surface water of the Arctic Ocean is fairly constant at approximately , near the Melting point, freezing point of seawater. The density of sea water, in contrast to fresh water, increases as it nears the freezing point and thus it tends to sink. It is generally necessary that the upper of ocean water cools to the freezing point for sea ice to form. In the winter, the relatively warm ocean water exerts a moderating influence, even when covered by ice. This is one reason why the Arctic does not experience the extreme temperatures seen on the Antarctica, Antarctic continent. There is considerable seasonal variation in how much pack ice of the Arctic ice pack covers the Arctic Ocean. Much of the Arctic ice pack is also covered in snow for about 10 months of the year. The maximum snow cover is in March or April—about over the frozen ocean. The climate of the Arctic region has varied significantly during the Earth's history. During the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago, when the global climate underwent a warming of approximately , the region reached an average annual temperature of . The surface waters of the northernmost Arctic Ocean warmed, seasonally at least, enough to support tropical lifeforms (the dinoflagellates ''Apectodinium augustum'') requiring surface temperatures of over . Currently, the Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.


Biology

Due to the pronounced seasonality of 2–6 months of midnight sun and polar night in the Arctic Ocean, the primary production of photosynthesizing organisms such as ice algae and phytoplankton is limited to the spring and summer months (March/April to September). Important consumers of primary producers in the central Arctic Ocean and the adjacent Continental shelf, shelf seas include zooplankton, especially copepods (''Calanus finmarchicus'', ''Calanus glacialis'', and ''Calanus hyperboreus'') and Krill, euphausiids, as well as ice-associated fauna (e.g., Amphipoda, amphipods). These primary consumers form an important link between the primary producers and higher trophic levels. The composition of higher trophic levels in the Arctic Ocean varies with region (Atlantic side vs. Pacific side) and with the sea-ice cover. Secondary consumers in the
Barents Sea The Barents Sea ( , also ; no, Barentshavet, ; russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean, including marginal seas, areas of water, various gulfs, bights, bays, and stra ...
, an Atlantic-influenced Arctic shelf sea, are mainly sub-Arctic species including herring, young Atlantic cod, cod, and capelin. In ice-covered regions of the central Arctic Ocean, Boreogadus saida, polar cod is a central predator of primary consumers. The apex predators in the Arctic Ocean—marine mammals such as Pinniped, seals, whales, and polar bears—prey upon fish. Endangered marine species in the Arctic Ocean include walruses and whales. The area has a fragile ecosystem, and it is especially exposed to Global warming, climate change, because it warms faster than the rest of the world. Lion's mane jellyfish are abundant in the waters of the Arctic, and the banded gunnel is the only species of Pholidae, gunnel that lives in the ocean.


Natural resources

Petroleum and natural gas Natural gas field, fields, placer deposits, Manganese nodule, polymetallic nodules, sand and gravel Construction aggregate, aggregates, fish, seals and whales can all be found in abundance in the region. The political dead zone near the centre of the sea is also the focus of a mounting dispute between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark. It is significant for the global energy market because it may hold 25 % or more of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources.


Environmental concerns


Arctic ice melting

The Arctic ice pack is thinning, and a seasonal hole in the ozone layer frequently occurs. Reduction of the area of Arctic sea ice reduces the planet's average albedo, possibly resulting in global warming in a positive feedback mechanism.Earth – melting in the heat?
Richard Black, 7 October 2005. BBC News. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
Research shows that the Arctic may become ice-free in the summer for the first time in human history by 2040. Estimates vary for when the last time the Arctic was ice-free: 65 million years ago when fossils indicate that plants existed there to as recently as 5,500 years ago; ice and ocean cores going back 8,000 years to the Holocene thermal maximum, last warm period or 125,000 during the Eemian, last intraglacial period. Warming temperatures in the Arctic may cause large amounts of fresh meltwater, melt-water to enter the north Atlantic, possibly disrupting global thermohaline circulation, ocean current patterns. Potentially severe changes in the Earth's climate might then ensue. As the extent of sea ice diminishes and sea level rises, the effect of storms such as the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 on open water increases, as does possible salt-water damage to vegetation on shore at locations such as the Mackenzie river delta, Delta as stronger storm surges become more likely. Global warming has increased encounters between polar bears and humans. Reduced sea ice due to melting is causing polar bears to search for new sources of food. Beginning in December 2018 and coming to an apex in February 2019, 2019 mass invasion of Russian polar bears, a mass invasion of polar bears into the archipelago of
Novaya Zemlya Novaya Zemlya (, also , ; rus, Но́вая Земля́, p=ˈnovəjə zʲɪmˈlʲa, ) is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea ...

Novaya Zemlya
caused local authorities to declare a state of emergency. Dozens of polar bears were seen entering homes, public buildings and inhabited areas.


Clathrate breakdown

Sea ice, and the cold conditions it sustains, serves to stabilize methane deposits on and near the shoreline, preventing the clathrate breaking down and outgassing methane into the atmosphere, causing further warming. Melting of this ice may release large quantities of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, causing further warming in a strong positive feedback cycle and marine genera and species to become extinct.


Other concerns

Other Environmentalism, environmental concerns relate to the radioactive contamination of the Arctic Ocean from, for example, Russian radioactive waste dump sites in the Kara Sea, Cold War Nuclear weapons testing, nuclear test sites such as Novaya Zemlya, Camp Century's contaminants in Greenland, and radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. On 16 July 2015, five nations (United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark/Greenland) signed a declaration committing to keep their fishing vessels out of a 1.1 million square mile zone in the central Arctic Ocean near the North Pole. The agreement calls for those nations to refrain from fishing there until there is better scientific knowledge about the marine resources and until a regulatory system is in place to protect those resources.


See also

* Arctic Archipelago * Arctic Bridge * Arctic cooperation and politics * Arctic sea ice ecology and history * British Arctic Territories * Chukchi Plateau * Extreme points of the Arctic * International Arctic Science Committee * Nordicity * Seven Seas * Subarctic *norwegian sea


References


Further reading

* Neatby, Leslie H., ''Discovery in Russian and Siberian Waters'' (1973), . * Ray, L., and B. Bacon, eds., ''The Arctic Ocean'' (1982), . * Thorén, Ragnar V.A., ''Picture Atlas of the Arctic'' (1969), .


External links


Arctic Council

Arctic Environmental Atlas
Interactive map
Arctic Great Rivers Observatory (ArcticGRO)

Arctic Ocean
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Daily Arctic Ocean Rawinsonde Data from Soviet Drifting Ice Stations (1954–1990)
at NSIDC

Images from Web Cams deployed in spring on an ice floe

Data from instruments deployed on an ice floe
International Polar Foundation
*
Marine Biodiversity Wiki
{{Authority control Islands of the Arctic Ocean, several islands Arctic Ocean, Oceans Extreme points of Earth Landforms of the Arctic Ocean, Articles containing video clips