The Arctic Ocean is one the most pristine marine regions on the planet. It includes Baffin Bay in Canada and the Beaufort Sea in the United States and Canada. In the Arctic Ocean, there is a burst of plankton growth in spring that helps sustain all living things in the region for much of the rest of the year. The Arctic’s sea ice creates an ecosystem with many species found nowhere else on earth. The ice also reflects sunlight, which helps regulate global temperatures. But the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, altering both human communities and natural systems.
By the numbers
800,000 years in which there has been at least some sea ice in the Arctic Ocean year round.
4 million people call the Arctic region home
950 miles from Arctic to nearest Coast Guard station in the event of oil spill or shipping accident
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For two days in late March, Arctic experts from South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, and the United States gathered at the Korean Polar Research Institute in the Songdo International Business District in Incheon, South Korea, for a roundtable discussion on how to foster more research on fish stocks in the Central Arctic Ocean to support a proposed international fisheries accord for those... Read More
More oversight and planning are needed to address steady increases in vessel traffic in Canada’s Arctic. Over the past decade, the number of ships using the Northwest Passage has more than doubled, posing risks to areas that are vital to marine life and northern communities. As the polar ice pack recedes, shipping routes related to international trade, mining, oil and gas exploration,... Read More
The world is looking to Canada’s Arctic Ocean for the promise of faster and cheaper intercontinental shipping and unexploited natural resources. The Arctic ice is melting because of climate change, which is creating a longer shipping season and has already resulted in vessel traffic increases of 166 percent through the Canadian Northwest Passage since 2004. Pew’s new report, The... Read More