Arctic

Arctic

Overview

The Arctic is a region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

 located at the northern-most part of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

 and parts of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

. The area can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 (66° 33'N), the approximate limit of the midnight sun
Midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous...

 and the polar night
Polar night
The polar night occurs when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. This occurs only inside the polar circles. The opposite phenomenon, the polar day, or midnight sun, occurs when the sun stays above the horizon for more than 24 hours.-Description:...

. Alternatively, it can be defined as the region where the average temperature for the warmest month (July) is below 10 °C (50 °F); the northernmost tree line roughly follows the isotherm at the boundary of this region.

Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, although by natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

 definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic
Subarctic
The Subarctic is a region in the Northern Hemisphere immediately south of the true Arctic and covering much of Alaska, Canada, the north of Scandinavia, Siberia, and northern Mongolia...

.
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Encyclopedia

The Arctic is a region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

 located at the northern-most part of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

 and parts of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

. The area can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 (66° 33'N), the approximate limit of the midnight sun
Midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous...

 and the polar night
Polar night
The polar night occurs when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. This occurs only inside the polar circles. The opposite phenomenon, the polar day, or midnight sun, occurs when the sun stays above the horizon for more than 24 hours.-Description:...

. Alternatively, it can be defined as the region where the average temperature for the warmest month (July) is below 10 °C (50 °F); the northernmost tree line roughly follows the isotherm at the boundary of this region.

Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, although by natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

 definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic
Subarctic
The Subarctic is a region in the Northern Hemisphere immediately south of the true Arctic and covering much of Alaska, Canada, the north of Scandinavia, Siberia, and northern Mongolia...

. The Arctic region is a unique area among Earth's ecosystems. The cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions. In recent years the extent of the sea ice has declined. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, zooplankton
Zooplankton
Zooplankton are heterotrophic plankton. Plankton are organisms drifting in oceans, seas, and bodies of fresh water. The word "zooplankton" is derived from the Greek zoon , meaning "animal", and , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter"...

 and phytoplankton
Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words φυτόν , meaning "plant", and πλαγκτός , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye...

, fish and marine mammal
Marine mammal
Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of...

s, birds, land animals, plants and human societies.

Etymology


The word Arctic comes from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ἀρκτικός (arktikos), "near the Bear, arctic, northern" and that from the word ἄρκτος (arktos), meaning bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

. The name refers either to the constellation
Constellation
In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

 Ursa Major
Ursa Major
Ursa Major , also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. It can best be seen in April...

, the "Great Bear", which is prominent in the northern portion of the celestial sphere
Celestial sphere
In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere of arbitrarily large radius, concentric with the Earth and rotating upon the same axis. All objects in the sky can be thought of as projected upon the celestial sphere. Projected upward from Earth's equator and poles are the...

, or to the constellation Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor , also known as the Little Bear, is a constellation in the northern sky. Like the Great Bear, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, whence the name Little Dipper...

, the "Little Bear", which contains Polaris
Polaris
Polaris |Alpha]] Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star....

, the Pole Star
Pole star
The term "Pole Star" usually refers to Polaris, which is the current northern pole star, also known as the North Star.In general, however, a pole star is a visible star, especially a prominent one, that is approximately aligned with the Earth's axis of rotation; that is, a star whose apparent...

, also known as the North Star.

Climate



The Arctic's climate is characterized by cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation mostly comes in the form of snow. The Arctic's annual precipitation is low, with most of the area receiving less than 50 centimetres (19.7 in). High winds often stir up snow, creating the illusion of continuous snowfall. Average winter temperatures can be as low as -40 C, and the coldest recorded temperature is approximately -68 C. Coastal Arctic climates are moderated by oceanic influences, having generally warmer temperatures and heavier snowfalls than the colder and drier interior areas. The Arctic is affected by current global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, leading to Arctic shrinkage and Arctic methane release
Arctic methane release
Arctic methane release is the release of methane from seas and soils in permafrost regions of the Arctic, as part of a more general release of carbon from these soils and seas. Whilst a long-term natural process, it may be exacerbated by global warming. This results in a weak positive feedback...

.

Due to the poleward migration of the planet's isotherms (about 35 mi (56.3 km) per decade during the past 30 years as a consequence of global warming), the Arctic region (as defined by tree line and temperature) is currently shrinking. Perhaps the most spectacular result of Arctic shrinkage is sea ice loss. There is a large variance in predictions of Arctic sea ice loss, with models showing near-complete to complete loss in September from 2040 to some time well beyond 2100. About half of the analyzed models show near-complete to complete sea ice loss in September by the year 2100.

Plants


Arctic vegetation
Arctic vegetation
In the Arctic, the low tundra vegetation clothes a landscape of wide vistas, lit by the low-angle light characteristic of high latitudes. Much of the Arctic shows little impact from human activities, making it one of the few places on earth one can see intact ecosystems. Those who have had the...

 is composed of plants such as dwarf shrubs
Subshrub
A subshrub or dwarf shrub is a short woody plant. Prostrate shrub is a similar term.It is distinguished from a shrub by its ground-hugging stems and lower height, with overwintering perennial woody growth typically less than 10–20 cm tall, or by being only weakly woody and/or persisting...

, graminoids
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

, herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

s, lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

s and moss
Moss
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...

es, which all grow relatively close to the ground, forming tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

. As one moves northward, the amount of warmth available for plant growth decreases considerably. In the northernmost areas, plants are at their metabolic limits, and small differences in the total amount of summer warmth make large differences in the amount of energy available for maintenance, growth and reproduction. Colder summer temperatures cause the size, abundance, productivity and variety of plants to decrease. Trees cannot grow in the Arctic, but in its warmest parts, shrubs are common and can reach 2 metre in height; sedges
Cyperaceae
Cyperaceae are a family of monocotyledonous graminoid flowering plants known as sedges, which superficially resemble grasses or rushes. The family is large, with some 5,500 species described in about 109 genera. These species are widely distributed, with the centers of diversity for the group...

, mosses and lichens can form thick layers. In the coldest parts of the Arctic, much of the ground is bare; non-vascular plant
Non-vascular plant
Non-vascular plants is a general term for those plants without a vascular system . Although non-vascular plants lack these particular tissues, a number of non-vascular plants possess tissues specialized for internal transport of water....

s such as lichens and mosses predominate, along with a few scattered grasses and forb
Forb
A forb is a herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid . The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands and understory.-Etymology:...

s (like the arctic poppy
Papaver radicatum
Papaver radicatum is a plant species of the genus Papaver. The species grows at a latitude of 83°40'N on Kaffeklubben Island, making it the northern most growing plant in the world.This poppy appears on the Coat of arms of Nunavut.-See also:*Svalbard poppy,...

).

Animals



Herbivores on the tundra include the Arctic hare
Arctic Hare
The arctic hare , or polar rabbit is a species of hare which is adapted largely to polar and mountainous habitats. The arctic hare survives with a thick coat of fur and usually digs holes under the ground or snow to keep warm and sleep...

, lemming
Lemming
Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. They are subniveal animals, and together with voles and muskrats, they make up the subfamily Arvicolinae , which forms part of the largest mammal radiation by far, the superfamily Muroidea, which also includes rats,...

, muskox, and caribou
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

. They are preyed on by the Arctic fox
Arctic fox
The arctic fox , also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Greek word alopex, means a fox and Vulpes is the Latin version...

 and wolf
Arctic Wolf
The Arctic Wolf , also called Polar Wolf or White Wolf, is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf, a mammal of the family Canidae. Arctic Wolves inhabit the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and the northern parts of Greenland....

. The polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

 is also a predator, though it prefers to hunt for marine life from the ice. There are also many bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s and marine species endemic to the colder regions. Other land animals include wolverine
Wolverine
The wolverine, pronounced , Gulo gulo , also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae . It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids...

s, ermine
Stoat
The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

s, and Arctic ground squirrel
Arctic Ground Squirrel
The Arctic ground squirrel is a species of ground squirrel native to the Arctic.-Subspecies:Listed alphabetically.*S. p. ablusus Osgood, 1903...

s. Marine mammals include seal
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

s, walrus
Walrus
The walrus is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in the Arctic Ocean and sub-Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The walrus is the only living species in the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus. It is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic...

, and several species of cetacea
Cetacea
The order Cetacea includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetus is Latin and is used in biological names to mean "whale"; its original meaning, "large sea animal", was more general. It comes from Ancient Greek , meaning "whale" or "any huge fish or sea...

n—baleen whale
Baleen whale
The Baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form the Mysticeti, one of two suborders of the Cetacea . Baleen whales are characterized by having baleen plates for filtering food from water, rather than having teeth. This distinguishes them from the other suborder of cetaceans,...

s and also narwhal
Narwhal
The narwhal, Monodon monoceros, is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. One of two living species of whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the beluga whale, the narwhal males are distinguished by a characteristic long, straight, helical tusk extending from their...

s, killer whales and belugas.

Natural resources


The Arctic includes sizable natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s (oil, gas, minerals, fresh water, fish and if the subarctic is included, forest) to which modern technology and the economic opening up of Russia have given significant new opportunities. The interest of the tourism industry is also on the increase.

The Arctic is one of the last and most extensive continuous wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

 areas in the world, and its significance in preserving biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 and genotype
Genotype
The genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual usually with reference to a specific character under consideration...

s is considerable. The increasing presence of humans fragments vital habitats. The Arctic is particularly susceptible to the abrasion of groundcover
Groundcover
Groundcover refers to any plant that grows over an area of ground, used to provide protection from erosion and drought, and to improve its aesthetic appearance .- Ecosystem :...

 and to the disturbance of the rare reproduction places of the animals that are characteristic to the region. The Arctic also holds 1/5 of the Earth's water supply.

Paleo-history



During the Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

, the Arctic still had seasonal snows, though only a light dusting and not enough to permanently hinder plant growth. Animals such as Chasmosaurus
Chasmosaurus
Chasmosaurus is a genus of ceratopsid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous Period of North America. Its name means 'opening lizard', referring to the large openings in its frill . With a length of and a weight of , Chasmosaurus was a ceratopsian of average size...

, Hypacrosaurus
Hypacrosaurus
Hypacrosaurus was a genus of duckbill dinosaur similar in appearance to Corythosaurus. Like Corythosaurus, it had a tall, hollow rounded crest, although not as large and straight...

, Troodon
Troodon
Troodon is a genus of relatively small, bird-like dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period . Discovered in 1855, it was among the first dinosaurs found in North America...

, and Edmontosaurus
Edmontosaurus
Edmontosaurus is a genus of crestless hadrosaurid dinosaur. It contains two species: Edmontosaurus regalis and Edmontosaurus annectens. Fossils of E. regalis have been found in rocks of western North America that date from the late Campanian stage of the Cretaceous Period 73 million years ago,...

may have all migrated north to take advantage of the summer growing season, and migrated south to warmer climes when the winter came. A similar situation may also have been found amongst dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s that lived in Antarctic
Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

 regions, such as Muttaburrasaurus
Muttaburrasaurus
Muttaburrasaurus is a genus of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur, living in what is now northeastern Australia between 100 and 98 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period. It has been recovered in some analyses as a member of the iguanodontian family Rhabdodontidae...

of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Indigenous population


The earliest inhabitants of North America's central and eastern Arctic are referred to as the Arctic small tool tradition
Arctic small tool tradition
The Arctic Small Tool tradition is a broad cultural entity that developed along the Alaska Peninsula, round Bristol Bay, and on the eastern shores of the Bering Strait around 2500 BC...

 (AST) and existed circa 2500 BC. AST consisted of several Paleo-Eskimo
Paleo-Eskimo
The Paleo-Eskimo were the peoples who inhabited the Arctic region from Chukotka in present-day Russia across North America to Greenland prior to the rise of the modern Inuit and/or Eskimo and related cultures...

 cultures, including the Independence cultures
Independence I culture
The Independence I culture was a Paleo-Eskimo culture of peoples who lived in northern Greenland from 2,400 to 1,000 B.C. It is named after Independence Fjord. During this time they coexisted with the Saqqaq culture of southern Greenland...

 and Pre-Dorset
Pre-Dorset
The "Pre-Dorset culture" was a Paleo-Eskimo culture that lived in the Eastern Arctic from 2500 to 500 BC....

 culture. The Dorset culture
Dorset culture
The Dorset culture was a Paleo-Eskimo culture that preceded the Inuit culture in Arctic North America. It has been defined as having four phases, with distinct technology related to the people's hunting and tool making...

 (Inuktitut
Inuktitut
Inuktitut or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada...

: Tuniit or Tunit) refers to the next inhabitants of central and eastern Arctic. The Dorset culture evolved because of technological and economic changes during the period of 1050–550 BC. With the exception of the Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

/Labrador
Labrador
Labrador is the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle...

 peninsula, the Dorset culture vanished around 1500 AD. Supported by genetic testing, evidence shows that Dorset culture, known as the Sadlermiut
Sadlermiut
The Sadlermiut were an Eskimo group living in near isolation mainly on and around Coats Island, Walrus Island, and Southampton Island in Hudson Bay...

, survived in Aivilik, Southampton
Southampton Island
Southampton Island is a large island at the entrance to Hudson Bay at Foxe Basin. One of the larger members of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Southampton Island is part of the Kivalliq Region in Nunavut, Canada. The area of the island is stated as by Statistics Canada . It is the 34th largest...

 and Coats Island
Coats Island
Coats Island lies at the northern end of Hudson Bay in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. At in size, it is the 107th largest island in the world, and Canada's 24th largest island....

s, until the beginning of the 20th century.

Dorset/Thule culture
Thule people
The Thule or proto-Inuit were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. They developed in coastal Alaska by AD 1000 and expanded eastwards across Canada, reaching Greenland by the 13th century. In the process, they replaced people of the earlier Dorset culture that had previously inhabited the region...

 transition dates around the 9th–10th centuries. Scientists theorize that there may have been cross-contact of the two cultures with sharing of technology, such as fashioning harpoon heads, or the Thule may have found Dorset remnants and adapted their ways with the predecessor culture. Others believe the Thule displaced the Dorset. By 1300, the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, present-day Arctic inhabitants and descendants of Thule culture, had settled in west Greenland, and moved into east Greenland over the following century. Over time, the Inuit have migrated throughout the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Russia and the United States.

Other Circumpolar North indigenous peoples include the Chukchi
Chukchi people
The Chukchi, or Chukchee , ) are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language...

, Evenks
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

, Inupiat, Khanty
Khanty people
Khanty / Hanti are an indigenous people calling themselves Khanti, Khande, Kantek , living in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, a region historically known as "Yugra" in Russia, together with the Mansi. In the autonomous okrug, the Khanty and Mansi languages are given co-official status with Russian...

, Koryaks
Koryaks
Koryaks are an indigenous people of Kamchatka Krai in the Russian Far East, who inhabit the coastlands of the Bering Sea to the south of the Anadyr basin and the country to the immediate north of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the southernmost limit of their range being Tigilsk. They are akin to the...

, Nenets
Nenets people
The Nenets are an indigenous people in Russia. According to the latest census in 2002, there are 41,302 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug...

, Sami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

, Yukaghir, and Yupik, who still refer to themselves as Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

.

International cooperation and politics




The eight Arctic nations (USA, Canada, Denmark (Greenland & The Faroe Islands), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) are all members of the Arctic Council
Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.- History of the Arctic Council :...

, as are organizations representing six indigenous populations. The Council operates on consensus basis, mostly dealing with environmental treaties and not addressing boundary or resource disputes.

Though Arctic policy priorities differ, every Arctic nation is concerned about sovereignty/defense, resource development, shipping routes, and environmental protection. Much work remains on regulatory agreements regarding shipping, tourism, and resource development in Arctic waters.

Research in the Arctic has long been a collaborative international effort, evidenced perhaps most notably by the International Polar Year
International Polar Year
The International Polar Year is a collaborative, international effort researching the polar regions. Karl Weyprecht, an Austro-Hungarian naval officer, motivated the endeavor, but died before it first occurred in 1882-1883. Fifty years later a second IPY occurred...

. The International Arctic Science Committee
International Arctic Science Committee
The International Arctic Science Committee is a non-governmental organization which is composed of international science groups participating in arctic science research. IASC is an International Scientific Associate of ICSU, and was established in 1990...

, hundreds of scientists and specialists of the Arctic Council
Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.- History of the Arctic Council :...

, and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council are more examples of collaborative international Arctic research.

Territorial claims



No country owns the geographic North Pole
North Pole
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...

 or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The surrounding Arctic states that border the Arctic Ocean — Russia, Norway, the United States, Canada, Iceland, and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 (via Greenland)—are limited to a 200 NM economic zone around their coasts.

Upon ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea , which took place from 1973 through 1982...

, a country has ten years to make claims to extend its 200 nautical mile zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

. Due to this, Norway (which ratified the convention in 1996), Russia (ratified in 1997), Canada (ratified in 2003) and Denmark (ratified in 2004) launched projects to establish claims that certain Arctic sectors should belong to their territories.

On August 2, 2007, two Russian bathyscaphe
Bathyscaphe
A bathyscaphe is a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible, consisting of a crew cabin similar to a bathysphere, but suspended below a float rather than from a surface cable, as in the classic bathysphere design....

s, MIR-1 and MIR-2
MIR (submersible)
Mir is a self-propelled Deep Submergence Vehicle. The project was initially developed by the USSR Academy of Sciences along with Design Bureau Lazurith. Later two vehicles were ordered from Finland...

, for the first time in history descended to the Arctic seabed
Seabed
The seabed is the bottom of the ocean.- Ocean structure :Most of the oceans have a common structure, created by common physical phenomena, mainly from tectonic movement, and sediment from various sources...

 beneath the North Pole and placed there a Russian flag
Flag of Russia
The flag of Russia is a tricolour flag of three equal horizontal fields, white on the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom. The flag was first used as an ensign for Russian merchant and war ships and only became official in 1896...

 made of rust-proof titanium alloy
Titanium alloy
Titanium alloys are metallic materials which contain a mixture of titanium and other chemical elements. Such alloys have very high tensile strength and toughness , light weight, extraordinary corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures...

. The mission was a scientific expedition, but the flag-placing raised concerns of a race for control of the Arctic's vast petroleum resources. (See Arktika 2007
Arktika 2007
Arktika 2007 was a 2007 expedition in which Russia performed the first ever crewed descent to the ocean bottom at the North Pole, as part of research related to the 2001 Russian territorial claim, one of many territorial claims in the Arctic, made possible, in part, because of Arctic shrinkage...

.)

Foreign ministers and other officials representing Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States met in Ilulissat, Greenland
Ilulissat
Ilulissat is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland, located approximately north of the Arctic Circle. With the population of 4,546 as of 2010, it is the third-largest settlement in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut....

 on May 28, 2008 at the Arctic Ocean Conference
Arctic Ocean Conference
The inaugural Arctic Ocean Conference was held in Ilulissat, Greenland May 27 — May 29, 2008. Five countries, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States, discussed key issues relating to the Arctic Ocean. The meeting was significant because of its plans for environmental regulation,...

 and announced the Ilulissat Declaration
Ilulissat Declaration
The Ilulissat Declaration was announced on May 28, 2008 by five Arctic circumpolar nations meeting at the political level during the Arctic Ocean Conference in Ilulissat, Greenland to discuss the Arctic ocean, climate change, the protection of the marine environment, maritime safety, and division...

.

Exploration



Since 1937, the whole Arctic region has been extensively explored by Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations
Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations
Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations are important contributors to exploration of the Arctic. The stations are named North Pole Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations are important contributors to exploration of the Arctic. The stations are named North Pole Soviet and...

. Between 1937 and 1991, 88 polar crews established and occupied scientific settlements on the drift ice
Drift ice
Drift ice is ice that floats on the surface of the water in cold regions, as opposed to fast ice, which is attached to a shore. Usually drift ice is carried along by winds and sea currents, hence its name, "drift ice"....

 and were carried thousands of kilometers by the ice flow.

Pollution



The Arctic is comparatively clean, although there are certain ecologically difficult localized pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 problems that present a serious threat to people’s health living around these pollution sources. Due to the prevailing worldwide sea and air currents, the Arctic area is the fallout region for long-range transport pollutant
Pollutant
A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil, and is the cause of pollution.Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, its concentration and its persistence. Some pollutants are biodegradable and therefore will not persist in the environment in the...

s, and in some places the concentrations exceed the levels of densely populated urban areas. An example of this is the phenomenon of Arctic haze
Arctic Haze
Arctic haze is the phenomenon of a visible reddish-brown haze in the atmosphere at high latitudes in the Arctic due to air pollution. A major distinguishing factor of Arctic haze is the ability of its chemical ingredients to persist in the atmosphere for an extended period of time compared to other...

, which is commonly blamed on long-range pollutants. Another example is with the bioaccumulation
Bioaccumulation
Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances, such as pesticides, or other organic chemicals in an organism. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which the substance is lost...

 of PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyl
Polychlorinated biphenyl
Polychlorinated biphenyls are a class of organic compounds with 2 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl, which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings. The chemical formula for PCBs is C12H10-xClx...

s) in Arctic wildlife and people.

Climate change




The Arctic is especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, as has become apparent in the melting sea ice in recent years. Climate model
Climate model
Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the climate system to projections of future climate...

s predict much greater warming in the Arctic than the global average, resulting in significant international attention to the region. In particular, there are concerns that Arctic shrinkage, a consequence of melting glaciers and other ice in Greenland, could soon contribute to a substantial rise in sea levels worldwide. Climate models give a range of predictions of Arctic sea ice loss, showing near-complete to complete loss in September anywhere from 2040 to some time well beyond 2100. About half of the analyzed models show near-complete to complete sea ice loss in September by the year 2100. More recently, the Catlin Arctic Survey
Pen Hadow
Rupert Nigel Pendrill Hadow known as Pen Hadow, , is founding director of Geo Mission Ltd, an environmental sponsorship organisation, and British polar guide and explorer. He is the first person to trek solo and without resupply from the north coast of Canada to the North Pole...

 concluded that summer ice loss would occur around 2029.

In September 2008, the extent of the summer Arctic ice cap was at a near-record low, only 9.01 percent greater than the record low in 2007, and 33.6 percent below the average extent of sea ice from 1979 to 2000. According to the University of Bremen
University of Bremen
The University of Bremen is a university of approximately 23,500 people from 126 countries that are studying, teaching, researching, and working in Bremen, Germany...

 in September 2011 the Arctic ice cap was smaller than ever before recorded since the satellite measurements started in the 1970's. Arctic ice is declining in area and thinning. Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the global average over the past half century. The speed of change has shocked scientists. If current trends continue, a largely ice-free Arctic in the summer is likely within 30 years – up to 40 years earlier than was anticipated by the IPCC last report.

As the volume of sea ice until recently could not be measured by remote sensing as easy as its extent, numerical models have been made to estimate the ice thickness field between known points, which then is summed up to yield ice volume. The resulting volume over time – plot reveals a much stronger loss of ice than ice extent studies suggest.

The current Arctic shrinkage is leading to fears of Arctic methane release. Release of methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 stored in permafrost could cause abrupt and severe global warming, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

. On millennial time-scales, decomposition of methane hydrates
Clathrate gun hypothesis
The clathrate gun hypothesis is the popular name given to the hypothesis that rises in sea temperatures can trigger the sudden release of methane from methane clathrate compounds buried in seabeds and permafrost which, because the methane itself is a powerful greenhouse gas, leads to further...

 in the Arctic seabed could also amplify global warming. Previous methane release events have been linked to the great dying, a mass extinction event
Extinction event
An extinction event is a sharp decrease in the diversity and abundance of macroscopic life. They occur when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation...

 at the boundary of the Permian
Permian
The PermianThe term "Permian" was introduced into geology in 1841 by Sir Sir R. I. Murchison, president of the Geological Society of London, who identified typical strata in extensive Russian explorations undertaken with Edouard de Verneuil; Murchison asserted in 1841 that he named his "Permian...

 and Triassic
Triassic
The Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 250 to 200 Mya . As the first period of the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic follows the Permian and is followed by the Jurassic. Both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events...

, and the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, in which temperatures abruptly increased.

Apart from concerns regarding the detrimental effects of warming in the Arctic, some potential opportunities have gained attention as well. The melting of the ice is making the Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

, the shipping routes through the northernmost latitudes, more navigable, raising the possibility that the Arctic region will become a prime trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

. In addition, it is believed that the Arctic seabed may contain substantial oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

s which may become accessible if the ice covering them melts. These factors have led to recent international debates as to which nations can claim sovereignty or ownership over the waters of the Arctic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

's Arctic Report Card
Arctic Report Card
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic Report Card presents annually updated, peer-reviewed information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic relative to historical records...

presents annually updated, peer-reviewed information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic relative to historical records.

Arctic waters


  • Arctic Ocean
    Arctic Ocean
    The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

  • Baffin Bay
    Baffin Bay
    Baffin Bay , located between Baffin Island and the southwest coast of Greenland, is a marginal sea of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is connected to the Atlantic via Davis Strait and the Labrador Sea...

  • Beaufort Sea
    Beaufort Sea
    The Beaufort Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, west of Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort...

  • Barents Sea
    Barents Sea
    The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

  • Bering Sea
    Bering Sea
    The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

  • Bering Strait
    Bering Strait
    The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

  • Chukchi Sea
    Chukchi Sea
    Chukchi Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the De Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific...

  • Davis Strait
    Davis Strait
    Davis Strait is a northern arm of the Labrador Sea. It lies between mid-western Greenland and Nunavut, Canada's Baffin Island. The strait was named for the English explorer John Davis , who explored the area while seeking a Northwest Passage....

  • Denmark Strait
    Denmark Strait
    The Denmark Strait or Greenland Strait |Sound]]) is an oceanic strait between Greenland and Iceland...

  • East Siberian Sea
    East Siberian Sea
    The East Siberian Sea 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 Siberian Islands to the west and Cape Billings, close to Chukotka, and Wrangel Island to the east...

  • Greenland Sea
    Greenland Sea
    The Greenland Sea is a body of water that borders Greenland to the west, the Svalbard archipelago to the east, Fram Strait and the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Norwegian Sea and Iceland to the south. The Greenland Sea is often defined as part of the Arctic Ocean, sometimes as part of the...

  • Hudson Bay
    Hudson Bay
    Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

  • Kara Sea
    Kara Sea
    The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya....

  • Laptev Sea
    Laptev Sea
    The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

  • Nares Strait
    Nares Strait
    Nares Strait is a waterway between Ellesmere Island and Greenland that is the northern part of Baffin Bay where it meets the Lincoln Sea. From south to north, the strait includes Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, Hall Basin and Robeson Channel...

  • Norwegian Sea
    Norwegian Sea
    The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...



Arctic lands


  • Alaska
    Alaska
    Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

     (USA
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    )
  • Aleutian Islands (USA
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    )
  • Arkhangelsk Oblast
    Arkhangelsk Oblast
    Arkhangelsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It includes the Arctic archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea....

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Canadian Arctic Archipelago
    Canadian Arctic Archipelago
    The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, also known as the Arctic Archipelago, is a Canadian archipelago north of the Canadian mainland in the Arctic...

  • Diomede Islands
    Diomede Islands
    The Diomede Islands , also known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands , consist of two rocky, tuya-like islands:* The U.S. island of Little Diomede or, in its native language, Ignaluk , and* The Russian island of Big Diomede , also known as Imaqliq,...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    /USA
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    )
  • Finnmark
    Finnmark
    or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    )
  • Franz Josef Land
    Franz Josef Land
    Franz Josef Land, Franz Joseph Land, or Francis Joseph's Land is an archipelago located in the far north of Russia. It is found in the Arctic Ocean north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard, and is administered by Arkhangelsk Oblast. Franz Josef Land consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Greenland
    Greenland
    Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

     (Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    )
  • Iceland
    Iceland
    Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

     (the vast majority of the country and all of the main island is south of the Arctic Circle
    Arctic Circle
    The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

    )
  • Jan Mayen
    Jan Mayen
    Jan Mayen Island is a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and part of the Kingdom of Norway. It is long and 373 km2 in area, partly covered by glaciers . It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by an isthmus wide...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    )
  • Lapland (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    )
  • Lapland (Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    )
  • New Siberian Islands
    New Siberian Islands
    The New Siberian Islands are an archipelago, located to the North of the East Siberian coast between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea north of the Sakha Republic....

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Nordland
    Nordland
    is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    )
  • Norrbotten
    Norrbotten
    Norrbotten is a Swedish province in northernmost Sweden. It borders south to Västerbotten, west to Swedish Lapland, and east to Finland.- Administration :...

     (Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    )
  • Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

     (Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )
  • Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Nunavik
    Nunavik
    Nunavik comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada. Covering a land area of 443,684.71 km² north of the 55th parallel, it is the homeland of the Inuit of Quebec...

     (northern Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )
  • Nunavut
    Nunavut
    Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

     (Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )
  • Russian Arctic islands
    Russian Arctic islands
    The Russian Arctic islands are a number of islands groups and sole islands scattered around the Arctic Ocean.-Geography:The islands are all situated within the Arctic Circle and are scattered through the marginal seas of the Arctic ocean namely the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian...

  • Sápmi
    Lapland (region)
    Lapland is a region in northern Fennoscandia, largely within the Arctic Circle. It streches across Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula . On the North it is bounded by the Barents Sea, on the West by the Norwegian Sea and on the East by the White Sea...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    , Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    , Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    , Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Severnaya Zemlya
    Severnaya Zemlya
    Severnaya Zemlya is an archipelago in the Russian high Arctic at around . It is located off mainland Siberia's Taymyr Peninsula across the Vilkitsky Strait...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Siberia
    Siberia
    Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )
  • Svalbard
    Svalbard
    Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    )
  • Troms
    Troms
    or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

     (Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    )
  • Yukon
    Yukon
    Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

     (Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )
  • Wrangel Island
    Wrangel Island
    Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

     (Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    )


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