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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A recent article in The New York Times documents the latest development in negotiations to secure an international fishing agreement for the Central Arctic Ocean. The article quotes Scott Highleyman, director of Pew’s international Arctic program, on the progress of cooperation between countries that have an interest in protecting Arctic fisheries. Read More
On May 27, 2015, Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew's U.S. Arctic project, submitted comments to the Department of Interior on the proposed Arctic-specific regulations for offshore drilling. Read More
The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed a suite of Arctic technology and equipment standards for offshore oil and gas exploration. These draft rules are the first of their kind for the Arctic and will set a minimum standard for exploration drilling in this area. Read More