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1. Arctic


The regions north of the Arctic Circle centered on the North Pole; Also called: Arctic Zone, North Frigid Zone.
The, That part of the northern hemisphere surrounding the North Pole; arbitrarily defined as the region lying N of the Arctic Circle (66ş 32´N) or N of the tree line. There is no Arctic continent; the greater part of the region comprises the Arctic Ocean, which is the world's smallest ocean. Arctic climate, fauna, and flora extend over the islands and northern edges of continental land masses that surround the Arctic Ocean (Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Siberia, Scandinavia, Alaska, and Canada)
area 36,000,000 sq km/14,000,000 sq mi
physical pack-ice floating on the Arctic Ocean occupies almost the entire region between the North Pole and the coasts of North America and Eurasia, covering an area that ranges in diameter from 3,000 km/1,900 mi to 4,000 km/2,500 mi. The pack-ice reaches a maximum extent in Feb when its outer limit (influenced by the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream) varies from 50şN along the coast of Labrador to 75şN in the Barents Sea N of Scandinavia. In spring the pack-ice begins to break up into ice floes which are carried by the south-flowing Greenland Current to the Atlantic Ocean. Arctic ice is at its minimum area in Aug. The greatest concentration of icebergs in Arctic regions is found in Baffin Bay. They are derived from the glaciers of W Greenland, then carried along Baffin Bay and down into the N Atlantic where they melt off Labrador and Newfoundland.
The Bering Straits are icebound for more than six months each year, but the Barents Sea between Scandinavia and Svalbard is free of ice and is navigable throughout the year. Arctic coastlines, which have emerged from the sea since the last Ice Age, are characterized by deposits of gravel and disintegrated rock. The area covered by the Arctic icecap shrank 2% 1978–87
climate permanent ice sheets and year-round snow cover are found in regions where average monthly temperatures remain below 0şC/32şF, but on land areas where one or more summer months have average temperatures between freezing point and 10şC/50şF, a stunted, treeless tundra vegetation is found. Mean annual temperatures range from -23şC at the North Pole to -12şC on the coast of Alaska. In winter the Sun disappears below the horizon for a time, but the cold is less severe than in parts of inland Siberia or Antartica. During the short summer season there is a maximum of 24 hours of daylight at the summer solstice on the Arctic Circle and six months’ constant light at the North Pole. Countries with Arctic coastlines established the International Arctic Sciences Committee 1987 to study ozone depletion and climatic change
flora and fauna the plants of the relatively infertile Arctic tundra (lichens, mosses, grasses, cushion plants, and low shrubs) spring to life during the short summer season and remain dormant for the remaining ten months of the year. There are no annual plants, only perennials. Animal species include reindeer, caribou, musk ox, fox, hare, lemming, wolf, polar bear, seal, and walrus. There are few birds except in summer when insects, such as mosquitoes, are plentiful
natural resources the Arctic is rich in coal (Svalbard, Russia), oil and natural gas (Alaska, Canadian Arctic, Russia), and mineral resources including gold, silver, copper, uranium, lead, zinc, nickel, and bauxite. Because of climatic conditions, the Arctic is not suited to navigation and the exploitation of these resources. Murmansk naval base on the Kola Peninsula is the largest in the world
population there are about 1 million aboriginal people including the Aleuts of Alaska, Native Americans, the Lapps of Scandinavia and Russia, the Yakuts, Samoyeds, Komi, Chukchi, Tungus, and Dolgany of Russia, and the Inuit of Siberian Russia, the Canadian Arctic, and Greenland.

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