The Arctic is a geographic region that covers over 30 million square kilometers of the northernmost part of our planet. The region extends beyond the Arctic Circle, ie north of 66°33’44”. The majority of its territory is occupied by the Arctic Ocean, and only the peripheral northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia fall within the borders of this geographical area. Only a few countries have territories here. These are Canada, USA, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland (part of Denmark) and Iceland.
However, Sweden and Finland are not considered to be Arctic countries. At the same time Greenland, northeastern Canada and the Bering Sea are situated much further south than the polar circle in the Northern Hemisphere and are still considered an indivisible part of the Arctic Region.
The average daily winter temperature is approximately (-35°C), and during the summer months it usually does not exceed 0°C.
However, in some places over the tundra, in the Arctic’s southern periphery, summers may bring relatively warm temperatures up to about 10 – 15°C in July, especially in Alaska and Norway.
Almost the entire area of the Arctic Region is occupied by the Arctic Ocean, which is the smallest on the planet. Much of its aquatory is covered by eternal ice.
In fact, many people mistakenly believe that under the thick ice and snow there is a continental landmass. In fact this is not true, and under the white cover is only seawater.
Living conditions in the Arctic Region are extremely harsh. The fauna is represented by different species of terrestrial mammals (polar bears, reindeer, polar hares, polar foxes, some small species of rodents), fin-footed animals (seals, walruses), marine mammals (baleen whales, beluga) and various types of cold-loving and fish-eating birds.
The Arctic species use different means to withstand the low temperatures. Most often this is done with the help of a thick layer of subcutaneous fat (seals) and thick hair (polar bear).
Despite its enormous territory, the Arctic is very sparsely populated, and vast areas are totally deserted. Comparable in size to Africa, it has a population of only 4 million people.
They inhabit the southern parts of this wild and inhospitable region. The majority of the population is concentrated in the state of Alaska (USA) and the Russian city of Murmansk, the most populous city beyond the polar circle.
The indigenous population of the Arctic, the Inuit, inhabit the coasts of the Arctic Ocean. They still preserve their way of life almost unchanged and in harmony with nature.
Compared to other regions on Earth, the Arctic suffers most from global climate changes. A growing part of the Arctic permafrost melts in the summer months, and the period free of ice becomes longer.
Scientists predict that in the next few decades during the summer months we will become witnesses of a phenomenon that now we can not still even imagine – a complete melting of the Arctic ice.
And while from a transport point of view the free of ice Arctic Ocean can serves as a way to reach faster and cheaper from one point to another, from an environmental point of view this is a horrible disaster!
A number of species such as the polar bear, will probably disappear forever with the last remnants of the northern polar cap.
These predators are strongly adapted to life on the ice, and they are already suffering from the increased melting.
Another problem of the Arctic is that the isolated region suffers from the air pollution accumulated in other parts of the world, which reaches here by the natural movement of air masses.