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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On June 15, 2016, 388 scientists and natural resource managers sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that no new oil and gas leasing be authorized in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas under the 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program. Read More
Sound decision-making about the future of the U.S. Arctic Ocean must include an understanding of how its marine ecosystems function. Although all areas of the U.S. Chukchi and Beaufort seas contribute to ecological integrity, some are especially vital to the health of that ecosystem. An extensive review by The Pew Charitable Trusts and nonprofit partners of the best available Arctic science from... Read More
The Arctic Ocean environment is rapidly changing. How to manage this evolution is among the agenda items at the U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit scheduled for May 13. Read More