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The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is the point in the
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. It is called the True North Pole to distinguish from the Magnetic North Pole. The North Pole is by definition the northernmost point on the Earth, lying diametrically opposite the
South Pole The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole, Terrestrial South Pole or 90th Parallel South, is one of the where intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on Earth and lies on the of Earth from the . Situated on the ...
. It defines geodetic
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
90° North, as well as the direction of
true north True north (also called geodetic north or geographic north) is the direction Direction may refer to: *Relative direction, for instance left, right, forward, backwards, up, and down ** Anatomical terms of location for those used in anatomy *Car ...
. At the North Pole all directions point south; all lines of
longitude Longitude (, ) is a geographic coordinate A geographic coordinate system (GCS) is a coordinate system associated with position (geometry), positions on Earth (geographic position). A GCS can give positions: *as Geodetic coordinates, ...

longitude
converge there, so its longitude can be defined as any degree value. No time zone has been assigned to the North Pole, so any time can be used as the local time. Along tight latitude circles, counterclockwise is east and clockwise is west. The North Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere. The nearest land is usually said to be
Kaffeklubben Island Kaffeklubben Island or Coffee Club Island ( da, Kaffeklubben Ø; kl, Inuit Qeqertaat) is an island lying off the northern tip of Greenland. It contains Most northerly point of land, the undisputed northernmost point of land on Earth. Discov ...
, off the northern coast of
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
about away, though some perhaps semi-permanent gravel banks lie slightly closer. The nearest permanently inhabited place is Alert in the
Qikiqtaaluk Region The Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtani Region (Inuktitut syllabics: ᕿᑭᖅᑖᓗᒃ ) or Baffin Region is the easternmost List of regions of Nunavut, administrative region of Nunavut, Canada. Qikiqtaaluk is the traditional Inuktitut name for Baffi ...
, Nunavut, Canada, which is located from the Pole. While the South Pole lies on a continental
land mass Land is the solid surface of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several ...

land mass
, the North Pole is located in the middle of the
Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major s. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some call it the Arctic Medit ...

Arctic Ocean
amid waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting
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
. The sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at by the Russian Mir submersible in 2007 and at by USS ''Nautilus'' in 1958. This makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole ( unlike the South Pole). However, the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, and later Russia, constructed a number of manned drifting stations on a generally annual basis since 1937, some of which have passed over or very close to the Pole. Since 2002, the Russians have also annually established a base,
Barneo 329px, Barneo Ice Camp Camp Barneo (russian: Лагерь Бaрнео) is a private Russian temporary ice base, established annually since 2002 on an ice floe relatively close to the North Pole, used largely for tourist excursion purposes. Depen ...
, close to the Pole. This operates for a few weeks during early spring. Studies in the 2000s predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free because of Arctic ice shrinkage, with timescales varying from 2016 to the late 21st century or later. Attempts to reach the North Pole began in the late 19th century, with the record for "
Farthest North Farthest North describes the most northerly latitude reached by explorers before the conquest of the North Pole rendered the expression obsolete. The Arctic polar regions are much more accessible than those of the Antarctic, as continental land m ...
" being surpassed on numerous occasions. The first undisputed expedition to reach the North Pole was that of the airship '' Norge'', which overflew the area in 1926 with 16 men on board, including expedition leader
Roald Amundsen Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (, ; ; 16 July 1872 – ) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He was a key figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Born in Borge, Østfold, Norway, Amundsen began ...

Roald Amundsen
. Three prior expeditions – led by
Frederick Cook Frederick Albert Cook (June 10, 1865 – August 5, 1940) was an American explorer, physician, and ethnographer who claimed to have reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. That was nearly a year before Robert Peary, who similarly clai ...

Frederick Cook
(1908, land),
Robert Peary Robert Edwin Peary Sr. (; May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) was an American explorer and officer in the United States Navy who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for, in April ...
(1909, land) and
Richard E. Byrd Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The ...
(1926, aerial) – were once also accepted as having reached the Pole. However, in each case later analysis of expedition data has cast doubt upon the accuracy of their claims.


Precise definition

The Earth's axis of rotation – and hence the position of the North Pole – was commonly believed to be fixed (relative to the surface of the Earth) until, in the 18th century, the mathematician
Leonhard Euler Leonhard Euler ( ; ; 15 April 170718 September 1783) was a Swiss mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ) ...

Leonhard Euler
predicted that the axis might "wobble" slightly. Around the beginning of the 20th century astronomers noticed a small apparent "variation of latitude", as determined for a fixed point on Earth from the observation of stars. Part of this variation could be attributed to a wandering of the Pole across the Earth's surface, by a range of a few metres. The wandering has several periodic components and an irregular component. The component with a period of about 435 days is identified with the eight-month wandering predicted by Euler and is now called the
Chandler wobble The Chandler wobble or Chandler variation of latitude is a small deviation in the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of ...
after its discoverer. The exact point of intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface, at any given moment, is called the "instantaneous pole", but because of the "wobble" this cannot be used as a definition of a fixed North Pole (or South Pole) when metre-scale precision is required. It is desirable to tie the system of Earth coordinates (latitude, longitude, and elevations or
orography Orography (from the Ancient Greek, Greek , hill, , to write) is the study of the topographic relief of mountains, and can more broadly include hills, and any part of a region's elevated terrain. Orography (also known as ''oreography'', ''orology'' ...
) to fixed landforms. However, given
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
and
isostasy Isostasy (Greek ''ísos'' "equal", ''stásis'' "standstill") or isostatic equilibrium is the state of gravitational Gravity (), or gravitation, is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass Mass is both a property Prope ...

isostasy
, there is no system in which all geographic features are fixed. Yet the
International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), formerly the International Earth Rotation Service, is the body responsible for maintaining global time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and ...
and the
International Astronomical Union The International Astronomical Union (IAU; french: link=yes, Union astronomique internationale, UAI) is a Non-governmental organization, nongovernmental organisation with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects, including promoting ...
have defined a framework called the
International Terrestrial Reference System The International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS) describes procedures for creating reference frames suitable for use with measurements on or near the Earth's surface. This is done in much the same way that a physical standard might be describ ...
.


Exploration


Pre-1900

As early as the 16th century, many prominent people correctly believed that the North Pole was in a sea, which in the 19th century was called the
Polynya A polynya () is an area of open water surrounded 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 cove ...
or
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 ...
. It was therefore hoped that passage could be found through ice floes at favorable times of the year. Several expeditions set out to find the way, generally with whaling ships, already commonly used in the cold northern latitudes. One of the earliest expeditions to set out with the explicit intention of reaching the North Pole was that of British naval officer
William Edward Parry Sir William Edward Parry (19 December 1790 – 8 July 1855) was an Anglo-Welsh explorer of the Arctic best known for his 1819–1820 expedition through the Parry Channel, probably the most successful in the long quest for the Northwest Pa ...
, who in 1827 reached latitude 82°45′ North. In 1871, the ''Polaris'' expedition, a US attempt on the Pole led by
Charles Francis Hall Charles Francis Hall ( – November 8, 1871) was an American Arctic exploration, Arctic explorer, best known for the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death while leading the American-sponsored Polaris expedition, ''Polaris'' expedi ...
, ended in disaster. Another British
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
attempt to get to the pole, part of the
British Arctic Expedition The British Arctic Expedition of 1875–1876, led by Sir George Strong Nares, was sent by the British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is t ...
, by Commander
Albert H. Markham
Albert H. Markham
reached a then-record 83°20'26" North in May 1876 before turning back. An 1879–1881 expedition commanded by US naval officer
George W. De Long George Washington De Long (22 August 1844 – ) was a United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_la ...
ended tragically when their ship, the , was crushed by ice. Over half the crew, including De Long, were lost. In April 1895, the Norwegian explorers
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
and
Hjalmar Johansen
Hjalmar Johansen
struck out for the Pole on skis after leaving Nansen's icebound ship ''
Fram ''Fram'' ("Forward") is a 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, research, an ...
''. The pair reached latitude 86°14′ North before they abandoned the attempt and turned southwards, eventually reaching
Franz Josef Land Franz Josef Land, Frantz Iosef Land, Franz Joseph Land or Francis Joseph's Land ( rus, Земля́ Фра́нца-Ио́сифа, r=Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa, no, Fridtjof Nansen Land) is a Russian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. It is inhabited on ...
. In 1897, Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée and two companions tried to reach the North Pole in the hydrogen balloon ''Örnen'' ("Eagle"), but came down north of Kvitøya, the northeasternmost part of the
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
archipelago. They trekked to Kvitøya but died there three months after their crash. In 1930 the remains of this expedition were found by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition. The Italian explorer
Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi (29 January 1873 – 18 March 1933) was an Italian mountaineer Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include t ...
and Captain
Umberto Cagni Umberto Cagni (24 February 1863 in Asti – 22 April 1932 in Genoa) was a polar explorer and an admiral in the Regia Marina, Royal Italian Navy. He is best known for his leadership in a probe, by dogsled, northward over the surface of the Arctic O ...
of the
Italian Royal Navy The ''Regia Marina'' (; ) was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy (''Regno d'Italia'') from 1861 to 1946. In 1946, with the Italian constitutional referendum, 1946, birth of the Italian Republic (''Repubblica Italiana''), the ''Regia Marina'' cha ...
(Regia Marina) sailed the converted whaler '' Stella Polare'' ("Pole Star") from Norway in 1899. On 11 March 1900, Cagni led a party over the ice and reached latitude 86° 34’ on 25 April, setting a new record by beating Nansen's result of 1895 by . Cagni barely managed to return to the camp, remaining there until 23 June. On 16 August, the ''Stella Polare'' left
Rudolf Island , native_name = , image_name = Kap Stolbowoi 2 2012-08-10.jpg , image_caption = Rock formations at Cape Stolbovoy , image_size = , map_image = Rudolf Island.PNG , map_caption = Location of Rudolf Island at the ...
heading south and the expedition returned to Norway.


1900–1940

The US explorer
Frederick Cook Frederick Albert Cook (June 10, 1865 – August 5, 1940) was an American explorer, physician, and ethnographer who claimed to have reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. That was nearly a year before Robert Peary, who similarly clai ...

Frederick Cook
claimed to have reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908 with two
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, ...
men, Ahwelah and Etukishook, but he was unable to produce convincing proof and his claim is not widely accepted. The conquest of the North Pole was for many years credited to US Navy engineer
Robert Peary Robert Edwin Peary Sr. (; May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) was an American explorer and officer in the United States Navy who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for, in April ...
, who claimed to have reached the Pole on 6 April 1909, accompanied by
Matthew Henson Matthew Alexander Henson (August 8, 1866March 9, 1955) was an American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consi ...
and four Inuit men, Ootah, Seeglo, Egingwah, and Ooqueah. However, Peary's claim remains highly disputed and controversial. Those who accompanied Peary on the final stage of the journey were not trained in esternnavigation, and thus could not independently confirm his navigational work, which some claim to have been particularly sloppy as he approached the Pole. The distances and speeds that Peary claimed to have achieved once the last support party turned back seem incredible to many people, almost three times that which he had accomplished up to that point. Peary's account of a journey to the Pole and back while traveling along the direct line – the only strategy that is consistent with the time constraints that he was facing – is contradicted by Henson's account of tortuous detours to avoid pressure ridges and open leads. The British explorer
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 ...
, initially a supporter of Peary, researched Peary's records in 1989 and found that there were significant discrepancies in the explorer's navigational records. He concluded that Peary had not reached the Pole. Support for Peary came again in 2005, however, when British explorer Tom Avery and four companions recreated the outward portion of Peary's journey with replica wooden sleds and
Canadian Eskimo Dog The Canadian Eskimo Dog or Canadian Inuit Dog is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of t ...

Canadian Eskimo Dog
teams, reaching the North Pole in 36 days, 22 hours – nearly five hours faster than Peary. However, Avery's fastest 5-day march was , significantly short of the claimed by Peary. Avery writes on his web site that "The admiration and respect which I hold for Robert Peary, Matthew Henson and the four Inuit men who ventured North in 1909, has grown enormously since we set out from
Cape Columbia 300px, Map of Cape Columbia and the Lincoln Sea. Cape Columbia is the northernmost point of land of Canada, located on Ellesmere Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut. It marks the westernmost coastal point of Lincoln Sea in the Arctic Ocea ...
. Having now seen for myself how he travelled across the pack ice, I am more convinced than ever that Peary did indeed discover the North Pole." The first claimed flight over the Pole was made on 9 May 1926 by US naval officer
Richard E. Byrd Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The ...
and pilot
Floyd Bennett Floyd Bennett (October 25, 1890 – April 25, 1928) was a United States Naval Aviator, along with then USN Commander Richard E. Byrd, to have made the first flight to the North Pole in May 1926. However, their claim to have reached the pole is ...

Floyd Bennett
in a
Fokker tri-motor The Fokker F.VII, also known as the Fokker Trimotor, was an airliner produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, Fokker's American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft, Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, and other companies under licence. ...
aircraft. Although verified at the time by a committee of the
National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations in the world. Founded in 1888, its interests include geography, archaeology, and ...
, this claim has since been undermined by the 1996 revelation that Byrd's long-hidden diary's solar
sextant A sextant is a doubly reflecting navigation instrument that measures the angular distance Angular distance \theta (also known as angular separation, apparent distance, or apparent separation) is the angle In Euclidean geometry, an angle is ...

sextant
data (which the NGS never checked) consistently contradict his June 1926 report's parallel data by over . The secret report's alleged en-route solar sextant data were inadvertently so impossibly overprecise that he excised all these alleged raw solar observations out of the version of the report finally sent to geographical societies five months later (while the original version was hidden for 70 years), a realization first published in 2000 by the
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of ...
after scrupulous refereeing. The first consistent, verified, and scientifically convincing attainment of the Pole was on 12 May 1926, by Norwegian explorer
Roald Amundsen Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (, ; ; 16 July 1872 – ) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He was a key figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Born in Borge, Østfold, Norway, Amundsen began ...

Roald Amundsen
and his US sponsor
Lincoln Ellsworth Lincoln Ellsworth (May 12, 1880 – May 26, 1951) was a polar explorer This list is for recognised pioneering explorers of the polar regions. It does not include subsequent travelers and expeditions. Polar explorers * Jameson Adams * Stian ...
from the
airship An airship, dirigible balloon or blimp is a type of aerostat An aerostat (From greek language, Greek ἀήρ ''aer'' (air) + στατός ''statos'' (standing) through French) is a lighter than air aircraft that gains its lift through the ...

airship
'' Norge''. ''Norge'', though Norwegian-owned, was designed and piloted by the Italian
Umberto Nobile Umberto Nobile (; 21 January 1885 – 30 July 1978) was an Italian aviator, aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer. Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airship A semi-rigid airship is an airship which has a stiff keel or truss ...
. The flight started from
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
in Norway, and crossed the Arctic Ocean to Alaska. Nobile, with several scientists and crew from the ''Norge'', overflew the Pole a second time on 24 May 1928, in the airship ''
Italia Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...
''. The ''Italia'' crashed on its return from the Pole, with the loss of half the crew. was accomplished in a Tupolev ANT-25 airplane with a crew of
Valery Chkalov Valery Pavlovich Chkalov ( rus, Валерий Павлович Чкалов, p=vɐˈlʲerʲɪj ˈpavləvʲɪtɕ ˈtɕkaləf; – 15 December 1938) was a test pilot A test pilot is an aircraft pilot An aircraft pilot or aviat ...
, Georgy Baydukov and Alexander Belyakov, who flew over the North Pole on 19 June 1937.


Ice station

In May 1937 the world's first North Pole ice station,
North Pole-1North Pole-1 (russian: Северный полюс-1) was the world's first Soviet manned drifting station in the Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. It spans an area of approximately ...
, was established by Soviet scientists by air 20 kilometres (13 mi) from the North Pole. The expedition members—oceanographer
Pyotr Shirshov Pyotr Petrovich Shirshov (russian: Пётр Петрович Ширшов; in Ekaterinoslav 17 February 1953 in Moscow) was a Soviet Union, Soviet oceanographer, Hydrobiology, hydrobiologist, polar explorer, statesman, academician (1939), the firs ...
, meteorologist
Yevgeny Fyodorov
Yevgeny Fyodorov
, radio operator
Ernst Krenkel Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel (russian: Эрнст Теодо́рович Кре́нкель; in Białystok – 8 December 1971 in Moscow) was a Soviet Union, Soviet Arctic explorer, radio operator, doctor of geographical sciences (1938), and Hero ...

Ernst Krenkel
, and the leader
Ivan Papanin Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin (russian: Иван Дмитриевич Папанин, – 30 January 1986) was a Soviet Union, Soviet polar explorer, scientist, Counter Admiral, and twice Hero of the Soviet Union, who was awarded nine Order of Leni ...
—conducted scientific research at the station for the next nine months. By 19 February 1938, when the group was picked up by the ice breakers '' Taimyr'' and ''Murman'', their station had drifted 2850 km to the eastern coast of Greenland.


1940–2000

In May 1945 an
RAF "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Air Force March Past , mascot = , anniversaries = , e ...
LancasterLancaster may refer to: Lands and titles *The County Palatine of Lancaster, a synonym for Lancashire *Duchy of Lancaster, one of only two British royal duchies *Duke of Lancaster *Earl of Lancaster *House of Lancaster, a British royal dynasty ...

Lancaster
of the ''Aries'' expedition became the first
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
aircraft to overfly the North Geographic and North Magnetic Poles. The plane was piloted by David Cecil McKinley of the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
. It carried an 11-man crew, with Kenneth C. Maclure of the
Royal Canadian Air Force The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF; french: Aviation royale canadienne, ARC) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together ...

Royal Canadian Air Force
in charge of all scientific observations. In 2006, Maclure was honoured with a spot in
Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, based in the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang ...
. Discounting Peary's disputed claim, the first men to set foot at the North Pole were a Soviet party including geophysicists Mikhail Ostrekin and Pavel Senko, oceanographers Mikhail Somov and Pavel Gordienko, and other scientists and flight crew (24 people in total) of Aleksandr Kuznetsov's ''Sever-2'' expedition (March–May 1948). It was organized by the
Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route The Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route (russian: Главное Управление Северного Морского Пути , translit=Glavnoe upravlenie Severnogo morskogo puti), also known as Glavsevmorput or GUSMP (russian: ГУС ...
. The party flew on three planes (pilots Ivan Cherevichnyy, Vitaly Maslennikov and Ilya Kotov) from Kotelny Island to the North Pole and landed there at 4:44pm (
Moscow Time Moscow Time (russian: моско́вское вре́мя) is the time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform standard time for legal, Commerce, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries betwee ...
, UTC+04:00) on 23 April 1948. They established a temporary camp and for the next two days conducted scientific observations. On 26 April the expedition flew back to the continent. Next year, on 9 May 1949 two other Soviet scientists (Vitali Volovich and Andrei Medvedev) became the first people to parachute onto the North Pole. They jumped from a
Douglas C-47 Skytrain The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Air Force March Past , mascot ...

Douglas C-47 Skytrain
, registered CCCP H-369. On 3 May 1952,
U.S. Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...

U.S. Air Force
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher and Lieutenant William Pershing Benedict, along with scientist Albert P. Crary, landed a modified
Douglas C-47 Skytrain The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Air Force March Past , mascot ...

Douglas C-47 Skytrain
at the North Pole. Some Western sources considered this to be the first landing at the Pole until the Soviet landings became widely known. The United States Navy submarine '' USS Nautilus'' (SSN-571) crossed the North Pole on 3 August 1958. On 17 March 1959 '' USS Skate'' (SSN-578) surfaced at the Pole, breaking through the ice above it, becoming the first naval vessel to do so. Setting aside Peary's claim, the first confirmed surface conquest of the North Pole was that of Ralph Plaisted, Walt Pederson, Gerry Pitzl and Jean Luc Bombardier, who traveled over the ice by snowmobile and arrived on 19 April 1968. The United States Air Force independently confirmed their position. On 6 April 1969
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 ...
and companions Allan Gill, Roy Koerner and Kenneth Hedges of the British Trans-Arctic Expedition became the first men to reach the North Pole on foot (albeit with the aid of Sled dog, dog teams and airdrops). They continued on to complete the first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean – and by its longest axis, Barrow, 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
 – a feat that has never been repeated.Bob Headland (15 June 2007)
Sir Wally Herbert
''The Guardian''.
Because of suggestions (later proven false) of Plaisted's use of air transport, some sources classify Herbert's expedition as the first confirmed to reach the North Pole over the ice surface by any means. In the 1980s Plaisted's pilots Welland Phipps, Weldy Phipps and Ken Lee signed affidavits asserting that no such airlift was provided. It is also said that Herbert was the first person to reach the pole of inaccessibility. On 17 August 1977 the Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker ''Arktika (1972 nuclear icebreaker), Arktika'' completed the first surface vessel journey to the North Pole. In 1982 Ranulph Fiennes and Charles R. Burton became the first people to cross the Arctic Ocean in a single season. They departed from Cape Crozier, Ellesmere Island, on 17 February 1982 and arrived at the geographic North Pole on 10 April 1982. They travelled on foot and snowmobile. From the Pole, they travelled towards Svalbard but, due to the unstable nature of the ice, ended their crossing at the ice edge after drifting south on an ice floe for 99 days. They were eventually able to walk to their expedition ship ''MV Benjamin Bowring'' and boarded it on 4 August 1982 at position 80:31N 00:59W. As a result of this journey, which formed a section of the three-year Transglobe Expedition 1979–1982, Fiennes and Burton became the first people to complete a circumnavigation of the world via both North and South Poles, by surface travel alone. This achievement remains unchallenged to this day. In 1985 Sir Edmund Hillary (the first man to stand on the summit of Mount Everest) and Neil Armstrong (the first man to stand on the moon) landed at the North Pole in a small twin-engined ski plane. Hillary thus became the first man to stand at both poles and on the summit of Everest. In 1986 Will Steger, with seven teammates, became the first to be confirmed as reaching the Pole by dogsled and without resupply. USS Gurnard (SSN-662), USS ''Gurnard'' (SSN-662) operated in the Arctic Ocean under the polar ice cap from September to November 1984 in company with one of her sister ships, the attack submarine USS Pintado (SSN-672), USS ''Pintado'' (SSN-672). On 12 November 1984 ''Gurnard'' and ''Pintado'' became the third pair of submarines to surface together at the North Pole. In March 1990, ''Gurnard'' deployed to the Arctic region during exercise Ice Ex '90 and completed only the fourth winter submerged transit of the Bering and Seas. ''Gurnard'' surfaced at the North Pole on 18 April, in the company of the USS Seahorse (SSN-669), USS ''Seahorse'' (SSN-669). On 6 May 1986 USS Archerfish (SSN-678), USS ''Archerfish'' (SSN 678), USS Ray (SSN-653), USS ''Ray'' (SSN 653) and USS Hawkbill (SSN-666), USS ''Hawkbill'' (SSN-666) surfaced at the North Pole, the first tri-submarine surfacing at the North Pole. On 21 April 1987 Shinji Kazama of Japan became the first person to reach the North Pole on a motorcycle. On 18 May 1987 USS Billfish (SSN-676), USS ''Billfish'' (SSN 676), USS Sea Devil (SSN-664), USS ''Sea Devil'' (SSN 664) and HMS Superb (S109), HMS ''Superb'' (S 109) surfaced at the North Pole, the first international surfacing at the North Pole. In 1988 a team of 13 (9 Soviets, 4 Canadians) Soviet-Canadian 1988 Polar Bridge Expedition, skied across the arctic from Siberia to northern Canada. One of the Canadians, Richard Weber (explorer), Richard Weber, became the first person to reach the Pole from both sides of the Arctic Ocean. On April 16, 1990, a German-Swiss expedition led by a team of the University of Giessen reached the Geographic North Pole for studies on pollution of pack ice, snow and air. Samples taken were analyzed in cooperation with the Geological Survey of Canada and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Further stops for sample collections were on multi-year
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
at 86°N, at
Cape Columbia 300px, Map of Cape Columbia and the Lincoln Sea. Cape Columbia is the northernmost point of land of Canada, located on Ellesmere Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut. It marks the westernmost coastal point of Lincoln Sea in the Arctic Ocea ...
and Ward Hunt Island. On 4 May 1990 Børge Ousland and Erling Kagge became the first explorers ever to reach the North Pole unsupported, after a 58-day ski trek from Ellesmere Island in Canada, a distance of 800 km. On 7 September 1991 the German research vessel RV Polarstern, ''Polarstern'' and the Swedish icebreaker Oden (1988 icebreaker), ''Oden'' reached the North Pole as the first conventional powered vessels. Both scientific parties and crew took oceanographic and geological samples and had a common tug of war and a association football, football game on an ice floe. ''Polarstern'' again reached the pole exactly 10 years later, with the USCGC Healy (WAGB-20), ''Healy''. In 1998, 1999, and 2000, Lada Niva Marshs (special very large wheeled versions made by BRONTO, Lada/Vaz's experimental product division) were driven to the North Pole. The 1998 expedition was dropped by parachute and completed the track to the North Pole. The 2000 expedition departed from a Russian research base around 114 km from the Pole and claimed an average speed of 20–15 km/h in an average temperature of −30 °C.


21st century

Commercial airliner flights on the Polar routes may pass within viewing distance of the North Pole. For example, the flight from Chicago to Beijing may come close as latitude 89° N, though because of prevailing winds return journeys go over the Bering Strait. In recent years journeys to the North Pole by air (landing by helicopter or on a runway prepared on the ice) or by icebreaker have become relatively routine, and are even available to small groups of tourists through Adventure travel, adventure holiday companies. Parachute jumps have frequently been made onto the North Pole in recent years. The temporary seasonal Russian camp of
Barneo 329px, Barneo Ice Camp Camp Barneo (russian: Лагерь Бaрнео) is a private Russian temporary ice base, established annually since 2002 on an ice floe relatively close to the North Pole, used largely for tourist excursion purposes. Depen ...
has been established by air a short distance from the Pole annually since 2002, and caters for scientific researchers as well as tourist parties. Trips from the camp to the Pole itself may be arranged overland or by helicopter. The first attempt at Scuba diving, underwater exploration of the North Pole was made on 22 April 1998 by Russian firefighter and diver Andrei Rozhkov with the support of the Diving Club of Moscow State University, but ended in fatality. The next attempted dive at the North Pole was organized the next year by the same diving club, and ended in success on 24 April 1999. The divers were Michael Wolff (Austria), Brett Cormick (UK), and Bob Wass (USA). In 2005 the United States Navy submarine USS Charlotte (SSN-766), USS ''Charlotte'' (SSN-766) surfaced through of ice at the North Pole and spent 18 hours there. In July 2007 British endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh completed a swim at the North Pole. His feat, undertaken to highlight the effects of global warming, took place in clear water that had opened up between the ice floes. His later attempt to paddle a kayak to the North Pole in late 2008, following the erroneous prediction of clear water to the Pole, was stymied when his expedition found itself stuck in thick ice after only three days. The expedition was then abandoned. By September 2007 the North Pole had been visited 66 times by different surface ships: 54 times by Soviet and Russian icebreakers, 4 times by Swedish ''Oden'', 3 times by German RV Polarstern, ''Polarstern'', 3 times by USCGC Healy (WAGB-20), USCGC ''Healy'' and USCGC Polar Sea, USCGC ''Polar Sea'', and once by CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, CCGS ''Louis S. St-Laurent'' and by Swedish ''Vidar Viking''.


2007 descent to the North Pole seabed

On 2 August 2007 a Russian scientific expedition Arktika 2007 made the first ever manned descent to the ocean floor at the North Pole, to a depth of , as part of the research programme in support of Russia's Territorial claims in the Arctic#2001 Russian claim, 2001 extended continental shelf claim to a large swathe of the Arctic Ocean floor. The descent took place in two MIR (submersible), MIR submersibles and was led by Soviet and Russian polar explorer Artur Chilingarov. In a symbolic act of visitation, the Flag of Russia, Russian flag was placed on the ocean floor exactly at the Pole.Russia plants flag under N Pole
BBC News (2 August 2007).
The expedition was the latest in a series of efforts intended to give Russia a dominant influence in the Arctic according to ''The New York Times''. The warming Climate of the Arctic, Arctic climate and summer shrinkage of the iced area has attracted the attention of many countries, such as China and the United States, toward the top of the world, where resources and shipping routes may soon be exploitable.


MLAE 2009 Expedition

In 2009 the Russian MLAE-2009, Marine Live-Ice Automobile Expedition (MLAE-2009) with Vasily Elagin as a leader and a team of Afanasy Makovnev, Vladimir Obikhod, Alexey Shkrabkin, Sergey Larin, Alexey Ushakov and Nikolay Nikulshin reached the North Pole on two custom-built 6 x 6 low-pressure-tire ATVs. The vehicles, Yemelya-1 and Yemelya-2, were designed by Vasily Elagin, a Russian mountain climber, explorer and engineer. They reached the North Pole on 26 April 2009, 17:30 (Moscow time). The expedition was partly supported by Russian State Aviation. The Russian Book of Records recognized it as the first successful vehicle trip from land to the Geographical North Pole.


MLAE 2013 Expedition

On 1 March 2013 the Russian Marine Live-Ice Automobile Expedition (MLAE 2013) with Vasily Elagin as a leader, and a team of Afanasy Makovnev, Vladimir Obikhod, Alexey Shkrabkin, Andrey Vankov, Sergey Isayev and Nikolay Kozlov on two custom-built 6 x 6 low-pressure-tire ATVs—Yemelya-3 and Yemelya-4—started from Golomyanny Island (the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago) to the North Pole across drifting ice of the Arctic Ocean. The vehicles reached the Pole on 6 April and then continued to the Canadian coast. The coast was reached on 30 April 2013 (83°08N, 075°59W Ward Hunt Island), and on 5 May 2013 the expedition finished in Resolute Bay, NU. The way between the Russian borderland (Machtovyi Island of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, 80°15N, 097°27E) and the Canadian coast (Ward Hunt Island, 83°08N, 075°59W) took 55 days; it was ~2300 km across drifting ice and about 4000 km in total. The expedition was totally self-dependent and used no external supplies. The expedition was supported by the Russian Geographical Society."Diary of MLAE-2013"
''yemelya.ru''.


Day and night

The sun at the North Pole is continuously Midnight sun, above the horizon during the summer and continuously Polar night, below the horizon during the winter. Sunrise is just before the March equinox (around 20 March); the sun then takes three months to reach its highest point of near 23½° elevation at the summer solstice (around 21 June), after which time it begins to sink, reaching sunset just after the September equinox (around 23 September). When the sun is visible in the polar sky, it appears to move in a horizontal circle above the horizon. This circle gradually rises from near the horizon just after the vernal equinox to its maximum elevation (in degrees) above the horizon at summer solstice and then sinks back toward the horizon before sinking below it at the autumnal equinox. Hence the North and South Poles experience the slowest rates of sunrise and sunset on Earth. The twilight period that occurs before sunrise and after sunset has three different definitions: * a Twilight#Civil twilight, civil twilight period of about two weeks; * a Twilight#Nautical twilight, nautical twilight period of about five weeks; and * an Twilight#Astronomical twilight, astronomical twilight period of about seven weeks. These effects are caused by a combination of the Earth's axial tilt and its revolution around the sun. The direction of the Earth's axial tilt, as well as its angle relative to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun, remains very nearly constant over the course of a year (both change very slowly over long time periods). At northern midsummer the North Pole is facing towards the sun to its maximum extent. As the year progresses and the Earth moves around the sun, the North Pole gradually turns away from the sun until at midwinter it is facing away from the Sun to its maximum extent. A similar sequence is observed at the South Pole, with a six-month time difference.


Time

In most places on Earth, local time is determined by
longitude Longitude (, ) is a geographic coordinate A geographic coordinate system (GCS) is a coordinate system associated with position (geometry), positions on Earth (geographic position). A GCS can give positions: *as Geodetic coordinates, ...

longitude
, such that the time of day is more or less synchronised to the position of the sun in the sky (for example, at midday, the sun is roughly at its highest). This line of reasoning fails at the North Pole, where the sun rises and sets only once per year, and all lines of longitude, and hence all time zones, converge. There is no permanent human presence at the North Pole and no particular time zone has been assigned. Polar expeditions may use any time zone that is convenient, such as Greenwich Mean Time, or the time zone of the country from which they departed.


Climate, sea ice at North Pole

The North Pole is substantially warmer than the
South Pole The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole, Terrestrial South Pole or 90th Parallel South, is one of the where intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on Earth and lies on the of Earth from the . Situated on the ...
because it lies at sea level in the middle of an ocean (which acts as a reservoir of heat), rather than at altitude on a continental land mass. Despite being an ice cap, the northernmost weather station in Greenland has a tundra climate (Köppen ''ET'') due to the July and August mean temperatures peaking just above freezing. Winter temperatures at the #Greenlandic Weather Station, northernmost weather station in Greenland can range from about , averaging around , with the North Pole being slightly colder. However, a freak storm caused the temperature to reach for a time at a World Meteorological Organization buoy, located at 87.45°N, on 30 December 2015. It was estimated that the temperature at the North Pole was between during the storm. Summer temperatures (June, July, and August) average around the freezing point (). The highest temperature yet recorded is , much warmer than the South Pole's record high of only . A similar spike in temperatures occurred on 15 November 2016 when temperatures hit freezing. Yet again, February 2018 featured a storm so powerful that temperatures at Cape Morris Jesup, the world's northernmost weather station in Greenland, reached and spent 24 straight hours above freezing. Meanwhile, the pole itself was estimated to reach a high temperature of . This same temperature of was also recorded at the Hollywood Burbank Airport in Los Angeles at the very same time. The sea ice at the North Pole is typically around thick, although ice thickness, its spatial extent, and the fraction of open water within the ice pack can vary rapidly and profoundly in response to weather and climate. Studies have shown that the average ice thickness has decreased in recent years. It is likely that global warming has contributed to this, but it is not possible to attribute the recent abrupt decrease in thickness entirely to the observed warming in the Arctic. Reports have also predicted that within a few decades the Arctic Ocean will be entirely free of ice in the summer. This may have significant commercial implications; see "Territorial claims", below. The retreat of the Arctic sea ice will accelerate global warming, as less ice cover reflects less solar radiation, and may have serious climate implications by contributing to Arctic cyclone generation.


Flora and fauna

Polar bears are believed to travel rarely beyond about 82° North, owing to the scarcity of food, though tracks have been seen in the vicinity of the North Pole, and a 2006 expedition reported sighting a polar bear just from the Pole. The ringed seal has also been seen at the Pole, and Arctic foxes have been observed less than away at 89°40′ N. Birds seen at or very near the Pole include the snow bunting, northern fulmar and black-legged kittiwake, though some bird sightings may be distorted by the tendency of birds to follow ships and expeditions. Fish have been seen in the waters at the North Pole, but these are probably few in number. A member of the Russian team that descended to the North Pole seabed in August 2007 reported seeing no sea creatures living there. However, it was later reported that a sea anemone had been scooped up from the seabed mud by the Russian team and that video footage from the dive showed unidentified shrimps and Amphipoda, amphipods.


Territorial claims to the North Pole and Arctic regions

Currently, under international law, no country owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding Arctic countries, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland), and the United States, are limited to a exclusive economic zone off their coasts, and the area beyond that is administered by the International Seabed Authority. Upon ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country has 10 years to make claims to an extended continental shelf beyond its 200-mile exclusive economic zone. If validated, such a claim gives the claimant state rights to what may be on or beneath the sea bottom within the claimed zone. Norway (ratified the convention in 1996Status of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, of the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention and of the Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks
un.org (4 June 2007).
), Russia (ratified in 1997), Canada (ratified in 2003) and Denmark (ratified in 2004) have all launched projects to base claims that certain areas of Arctic continental shelves should be subject to their sole sovereign exploitation. In 1907 Canada invoked a "sector principle" to claim sovereignty over a sector stretching from its coasts to the North Pole. This claim has not been relinquished, but was not consistently pressed until 2013.


Cultural associations

In some children's Christmas legends and Western culture, Western folklore, the geographic North Pole is described as the location of Santa's workshop, Santa Claus' legendary workshop and residence, although the depictions have been inconsistent between the geographic and magnetic North Pole. Canada Post has assigned postal code H0H 0H0 to the North Pole (referring to Santa's traditional exclamation of "Ho ho ho!"). This association reflects an age-old esoteric mythology of Hyperborea that posits the North Pole, the otherworldly world-axis, as the abode of God and superhuman beings. As Henry Corbin has documented, the North Pole plays a key part in the cultural worldview of Sufism and Iranian mysticism. "The Orient sought by the mystic, the Orient that cannot be located on our maps, is in the direction of the north, beyond the north.". In Mandaean cosmology, the North Pole and pole star#In religion and mythology, Polaris are considered to be auspicious, since they are associated with the World of Light. Mandaeans face north when praying, and mandi (Mandaeism), temples are also oriented towards the north. On the contrary, South is associated with the World of Darkness (Mandaeism), World of Darkness. Owing to its remoteness, the Pole is sometimes identified with a mysterious mountain of ancient Culture of Iran, Iranian tradition called Mount Qaf (Jabal Qaf), the "farthest point of the earth". According to certain authors, the Jabal Qaf of Cosmology in medieval Islam, Muslim cosmology is a version of Rupes Nigra, a mountain whose ascent, like Dante Alighieri, Dante's climbing of the Purgatorio, Mountain of Purgatory, represents the pilgrim's progress through spiritual states. In Iranian theosophy, the heavenly Pole, the focal point of the spiritual ascent, acts as a magnet to draw beings to its "palaces ablaze with immaterial matter."


See also

*Arctic cooperation and politics *Arctic Council *Antarctica *Biome *Celestial pole *Ecliptic pole *Inuit Circumpolar Council *North Pole, Alaska *North Pole, New York *Polaris *Poles of astronomical bodies *
South Pole The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole, Terrestrial South Pole or 90th Parallel South, is one of the where intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on Earth and lies on the of Earth from the . Situated on the ...
*Willem Barentsz


Notes


References


Further reading

* * *


External links


Arctic Council

The Northern Forum






* [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1XMZTzELaE Video of the Nuclear Icebreaker Yamal visiting the North Pole in 2001]
Polar Discovery: North Pole Observatory Expedition
{{Authority control North Pole, Extreme points of Earth Northern Canada Navigation Polar regions of the Earth Geography of the Arctic Northern Hemisphere