Coordinates: 90°N 0°W / 90°N -0°E / 90; -0
An azimuthal projection showing the
Arctic Ocean and the North Pole.
The map also shows the
75th parallel north
75th parallel north and 60th parallel north.
Sea ice at the
North Pole in 2006
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic
North Pole or Terrestrial
North Pole, is (subject to the caveats explained below) defined as the
point in the
Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation
meets its surface.
North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth, lying
diametrically opposite the South Pole. It defines geodetic latitude
90° North, as well as the direction of true north. At the North Pole
all directions point south; all lines of longitude converge there, so
its longitude can be defined as any degree value. Along tight latitude
circles, counterclockwise is east and clockwise is west. The North
Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere.
South Pole lies on a continental land mass, the North Pole
is located in the middle of the
Arctic Ocean amid waters that are
almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice. This
makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North
Pole (unlike the South Pole). However, the Soviet Union, 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, 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
shrinkage, with timescales varying from 2016 to the late 21st
century or later.
The sea depth at the
North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m
(13,980 ft) by the Russian Mir submersible in 2007 and at
4,087 m (13,410 ft) by USS Nautilus in 1958. The nearest
land is usually said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast
Greenland about 700 km (430 mi) away, though some perhaps
semi permanent gravel banks lie slightly closer. The nearest
permanently inhabited place is Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region,
Nunavut, Canada, which is located 817 km (508 mi) from the
1 Precise definition
2.4 21st century
2.4.1 2007 descent to the
North Pole seabed
2.4.2 MLAE 2009 Expedition
2.4.3 MLAE 2013 Expedition
3 Day and night
6 Flora and fauna
7 Territorial claims to the
North Pole and
8 Cultural associations
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
See also: Polar motion
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 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 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) to fixed landforms. Of course,
given plate tectonics and isostasy, there is no system in which all
geographic features are fixed. Yet the International Earth Rotation
and Reference Systems Service and the International Astronomical Union
have defined a framework called the International Terrestrial
Arctic exploration, Farthest North, List of Arctic
expeditions, and List of firsts in the Geographic North Pole
Gerardus Mercator's map of the
North Pole from 1595
C.G. Zorgdragers map of the
North Pole from 1720
As early as the 16th century, many prominent people correctly believed
North Pole was in a sea, which in the 19th century was called
Polynya or Open Polar Sea. 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, who in 1827 reached latitude 82°45′ North. In 1871
Polaris expedition, a US attempt on the Pole led by Charles
Francis Hall, ended in disaster. Another British
Royal Navy attempt on
the pole, part of the British
Arctic Expedition, by Commander 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. DeLong
George W. DeLong ended tragically when their ship, the USS Jeanette,
was crushed by ice. Over half the crew, including DeLong, were lost.
Fram in the
In April 1895 the Norwegian explorers
Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar
Johansen struck out for the Pole on skis after leaving Nansen's
icebound ship Fram. The pair reached latitude 86°14′ North before
they abandoned the attempt and turned southwards, eventually reaching
Franz Josef Land.
In 1897 Swedish engineer
Salomon August Andrée
Salomon August Andrée and two companions
tried to reach the
North Pole in the hydrogen balloon Örnen
("Eagle"), but came down 300 km (190 mi) north of Kvitøya,
the northeasternmost part of the
Svalbard archipelago. They trekked to
Kvitøya but died there three months later. In 1930 the remains of
this expedition were found by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition.
The Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi and Captain
Umberto Cagni of the Italian
Royal Navy (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 35 to 40 km (22 to 25 mi). Cagni barely managed to
return to the camp, remaining there until 23 June. On 16 August the
Stella Polare left
Rudolf Island heading south and the expedition
returned to Norway.
Peary's sledge party at what they claimed was the North Pole, 1909.
From left: Ooqueah, Ootah, Henson, Egingwah, Seeglo.
The US explorer
Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole
on 21 April 1908 with two
Inuit men, Ahwelah and Etukishook, but he
was unable to produce convincing proof and his claim is not widely
The conquest of the
North Pole was for many years credited to US Navy
engineer Robert Peary, who claimed to have reached the Pole on 6 April
1909, accompanied by
Matthew Henson 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 [Western] navigation, 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
The British explorer Wally Herbert, 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
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 90 nautical miles,
significantly short of the 135 claimed by Peary. Avery writes on his
web site that "The admiration and respect which I hold for Robert
Matthew Henson and the four
Inuit men who ventured North in
1909, has grown enormously since we set out from Cape Columbia. 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
Ivan Papanin at
North Pole-1 drifting station, 1937
Another rejection of Peary's claim arrived in 2009, when E. Myles
Standish of the California Institute of Technology, an experienced
referee of scientific claims, reported numerous alleged lacunae and
The first claimed flight over the Pole was made on 9 May 1926 by US
Richard E. Byrd
Richard E. Byrd and pilot
Floyd Bennett in a Fokker
tri-motor aircraft. Although verified at the time by a committee of
the National Geographic Society, this claim has since been
undermined by the 1996 revelation that Byrd's long-hidden diary's
solar sextant data (which the NGS never checked) consistently
contradict his June 1926 report's parallel data by over 100 mi
(160 km). 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
University of Cambridge after scrupulous
According to Standish, "Anyone who is acquainted with the facts and
has any amount of logical reasoning can not avoid the conclusion that
neither Cook, nor Peary, nor Byrd reached the North Pole; and they all
knew it."[unreliable source?]
The first consistent, verified, and scientifically convincing
attainment of the Pole was on 12 May 1926, by Norwegian explorer Roald
Amundsen and his US sponsor
Lincoln Ellsworth from the airship
Norge. Norge, though Norwegian-owned, was designed and piloted by
the Italian Umberto Nobile. The flight started from
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. The Italia crashed on its return
from the Pole, with the loss of half the crew.
In May 1937 the world's first
North Pole ice station, North Pole-1,
was established by Soviet scientists by air 20 kilometres (13 mi)
from the North Pole. The expedition members: oceanographer Pyotr
Shirshov, meteorologist Yevgeny Fyodorov, radio operator Ernst
Krenkel, and the leader Ivan Papanin 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
In May 1945 an RAF Lancaster of the Aries expedition became the first
Commonwealth aircraft to overfly the North Geographic and North
Magnetic Poles. The plane was piloted by David Cecil McKinley of the
Royal Air Force. It carried an 11-man crew, with Kenneth C. Maclure of
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force in charge of all scientific observations.
In 2006, Maclure was honoured with a spot in Canada's Aviation Hall of
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 party flew on three planes (pilots Ivan
Cherevichnyy, Vitaly Maslennikov and Ilya Kotov) from Kotelny Island
North Pole and landed there at 4:44pm (Moscow Time, 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,
registered CCCP H-369.
On 3 May 1952 U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel
Joseph O. Fletcher
Joseph O. Fletcher and
Lieutenant William Pershing Benedict, along with scientist Albert P.
Crary, landed a modified
Douglas C-47 Skytrain
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.
USS Skate at drift station Alpha, 1958
United States Navy
United States Navy submarine
USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
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
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
United States Air Force independently
confirmed their position.
On 6 April 1969
Wally Herbert 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 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 – a feat that has never been
repeated. 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 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.
Icebreaker Arktika, the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
On 17 August 1977 the Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika
completed the first surface vessel journey to the North Pole.
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
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.
Sir Edmund Hillary
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) 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). 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
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 April 18, in the company of the USS Sea
On 6 May 1986 USS Archerfish (SSN 678), USS Ray (SSN 653) and 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
North Pole on a motorcycle.
On 18 May 1987 USS Billfish (SSN 676), USS Sea Devil (SSN 664) and HMS
Superb (S 109) surfaced at the North Pole, the first international
surfacing at the North Pole.
In 1988 a 13-man strong team (9 Soviets, 4 Canadians) skied across the
arctic from Siberia to northern Canada. One of the Canadians, Richard
Weber became the first person to reach the Pole from both sides of the
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
Ellesmere Island in Canada, a distance of 800 km.
On 7 September 1991 the German research vessel Polarstern and the
Swedish 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 football game on an ice floe. Polarstern again reached the pole
exactly 10 years later with the 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.
USS Charlotte at the
North Pole in 2005
Commercial airliner flights on the Polar routes may pass within
viewing distance of the North Pole. For example, the flight from
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 holiday companies. Parachute jumps have frequently
been made onto the
North Pole in recent years. The temporary seasonal
Russian camp of
Barneo 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 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
United States Navy submarine USS Charlotte (SSN-766)
surfaced through 155 cm (61 in) of ice at the
North Pole and
spent 18 hours there.
In July 2007 British endurance swimmer
Lewis Gordon Pugh
Lewis Gordon Pugh completed a
1 km (0.62 mi) 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 Polarstern, 3 times by USCGC
Healy and 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
Main article: Arktika 2007
MIR submersible, one of the two vehicles that were used in the first
ever manned descent to the seabed under the North Pole
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 4.3 km (2.7 mi), as part of the research programme
in support of Russia's 2001 extended continental shelf claim to a
large swathe of the
Arctic Ocean floor. The descent took place in two
MIR submersibles and was led by Soviet and Russian polar explorer
Artur Chilingarov. In a symbolic act of visitation, the Russian flag
was placed on the ocean floor exactly at the Pole.
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
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 Marine Live-Ice Automobile Expedition (MLAE-2009)
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 — Yemelya-1 and Yemelya-2, designed by Vasily
Elagin, a known Russian mountain climber, explorer and engineer. The
vehicles 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
Yemelya — all terrain amphibious vehicle
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 Hant 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 Hant 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.
Day and night
The sun at the
North Pole is continuously above the horizon during the
summer and continuously 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.
A civil twilight period of about two weeks occurs before sunrise and
after sunset, a nautical twilight period of about five weeks occurs
before sunrise and after sunset and an astronomical twilight period of
about seven weeks occurs before sunrise and after sunset.
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
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.
In most places on Earth, local time is determined by 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
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
Arctic ice shrinkages of 2007 compared to 2005 and also compared to
the 1979–2000 average.
Main article: Climate of the Arctic
See also: Climate change in the Arctic
North Pole is substantially warmer than the
South Pole 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, it shares some characteristics with a tundra climate
(ETf) due to the July and August temperatures peaking just above
Winter temperatures at the
North Pole can range from about −50 to
−13 °C (−58 to 9 °F), averaging around −31 °C
(−24 °F).A However, a freak storm caused the temperature to
reach 0.7 °C (33 °F) for a time at a World Meteorological
Organization buoy, located at 87.45°N, on December 30, 2015. It was
estimated that the temperature at the
North Pole was between 30 and
35 °F (−1 and 2 °C) during the storm. Summer
temperatures (June, July, and August) average around the freezing
point (0 °C (32 °F)). The highest temperature yet recorded
is 13 °C (55 °F), much warmer than the South Pole's
record high of only −12.3 °C (9.9 °F). A similar
spike in temperatures occurred on November 15, 2016 when temperatures
hit freezing. Yet again, February of 2018 featured a storm so
powerful that temperatures at Cape Morris Jesup, the world northermost
weather station in Greenland, reached 6.1 °C (43 °F) and
spent 24 straight hours above freezing. Meanwhile, the pole itself
was estimated to reach a high temperature of 1.6 °C
(35 °F). This same temperature of 1.6 °C (35 °F) was
also recorded at the
Hollywood Burbank Airport
Hollywood Burbank Airport in
Los Angeles at the
very same time.
The sea ice at the
North Pole is typically around 2 to 3 m
(6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) thick, although ice
thickness, its spatial extent, and the fraction of open water within
the ice pack can very 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,"
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.
Climate data for Greenlandic Weather StationA (eleven year average
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average relative humidity (%)
Flora and fauna
Polar bears are believed rarely to travel 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 1 mi (1.6 km) from the Pole. The
ringed seal has also been seen at the Pole, and
Arctic foxes have been
observed less than 60 km (37 mi) away at
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
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
Territorial claims to the
North Pole and
Main article: Territorial claims in the Arctic
Sunset over the
North Pole at the International Dateline, 2015
Currently, under international law, no country owns the
North Pole or
the region of the
Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding
Arctic countries, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via
Greenland), and the United States (via Alaska), are limited to a
200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi) exclusive economic zone
around 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 1996),
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
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
In some children's Western cultures, the geographic
North Pole is
described as the location of Santa Claus' 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. The popular figure of the
pole-dwelling Santa Claus thus functions as an archetype of spiritual
purity and transcendence.
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."
Owing to its remoteness, the Pole is sometimes identified with a
mysterious mountain of ancient Iranian tradition called Mount Qaf
(Jabal Qaf), the "farthest point of the earth". According to
certain authors, the Jabal Qaf of Muslim cosmology is a version of
Rupes Nigra, a mountain whose ascent, like Dante's climbing of the
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." 
Arctic cooperation and politics
Inuit Circumpolar Council
North Pole, Alaska
Poles of astronomical bodies
A.^ Data is from a Greenlandic Weather Station at 83°38′N
033°22′W / 83.633°N 33.367°W / 83.633; -33.367
(Greenlandic Weather Station) located 709 km (441 mi) from
the North Pole.
^ Black, Richard (8 April 2001). New warning on
Arctic sea ice melt.
^ Ljunggren, David (5 March 2009).
Arctic summer ice could vanish by
2013: expert. Reuters
^ Russian sub plants flag at North Pole, Reuters, 2 August 2007
^ Андерсон, Уильям Роберт (1965).
""Наутилус" у Северного полюса".
Воениздат. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
^ Mouton, M.W. (1968). The International Regime of the Polar Regions.
Acadimie de Droit International de La Ha. pp. 202 (34).
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^ Wright, John K. (July 1953). "The Open Polar Sea". Geographical
Review. 43 (3): 338–365.
^ "At the North Pole, 6–7 April 1909: Newfoundland and Labrador
Heritage Web". Heritage.nf.ca. Archived from the original on 22 May
2013. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
^ Robert Bryce Cook and Peary: the Polar Controversy Resolved
Stackpole 1997; Henderson, B. (2005) True North W W Norton &
Company ISBN 0-393-32738-8
^ "Sir Wally Herbert". The Independent. 16 June 2007. Archived from
the original on 24 December 2008.
Tom Avery website. Retrieved May 2007
^ a b
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Claims: Each Unproven & Highly Suspect. Dioi.org. Retrieved 4 July
North Pole Flight of Richard E. Byrd: An Overview of the
Controversy Archived 13 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Byrd
Polar Research Center of The Ohio State University. See also DIO Vol.
10  (refereed both at
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge and by the DIO
board), which reveals errors of grade school arithmetic in the
Byrd-defenses of W.Molett (pp. 55 & 98) and consultant J. Portney
(pp. 73–75), neither of whom attempts to explain Byrd's surgical
censoring of his original June report, or his and the National
Geographic's hiding of said report for decades. Similarly, Avery's
chimeral try at replicating the Peary 1909 trip via 2005 ice, may
divert from but cannot explain Peary's data-blanks, data-alterations,
nor why he, when reading his diary to Congress on 7 January 1911,
understandably deleted (only) its sole attempt at explaining (crudely
and inadequately) his steering: "setting course by moon, our shadows
etc". See The Washington Post 20 April 1989. Compare diary 2 April
1909 to p. 302 of the Peary Hearings: complete verbatim copy at 1916
Congressional Record Vol. 53, Appendix pp. 293–327.
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significance to the community that it has been published here despite
an expanded version being published this same month in DIO." Both
versions (p. 38 and 59, respectively) note that while Byrd's New York
ticker-tape parade and his
National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society gold medal
presentation were on 23 June 1926, the NGS exam of his later-hidden
original report was from early 23 June through late 28 June (six days,
mistakenly cited as "five consecutive days" in the report), a
chronology so revealing that the September National Geographic pp.
384–385 stripped out the dates (only) from the NGS' own report,
which fortunately was published uncensored (thanks to the Secretary of
the Navy) at The
New York Times
New York Times 30 June, p. 5.
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AMORE 2001 (
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сегодня мы – первые. А завтра?".
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из порта Санкт-Петербург в экспедицию
«Арктика-2007». Press release of the
AARI (9 July 2007).
^ a b
Russia plants flag under N Pole, BBC News (2 August 2007).
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North Pole Obsession, The
New York Times
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Fairfield, William (1885). Paradise Found a Cradle of the Human Race
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