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

    miles from Arctic to nearest Coast Guard station in the event of oil spill or shipping accident

Our Work

View All
  • The Arctic Heritage and Beauty of Tallurutiup Tariunga (Lancaster Sound)

    Canada's Lancaster Sound, called Tallurutiup Tariunga in Inuktitut, is one of the Arctic Ocean’s richest marine habitats—an area of stunning natural beauty and deep cultural significance for Inuit who live there. Located at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, the sound’s abundant sea life has sustained Inuit communities for centuries. Through poetry set to spectacular... Read More

  • Visiting Hudson Bay's Nelson-Hayes Estuary

    The Nelson-Hayes is one of Manitoba’s three largest estuaries—along with the Seal and Churchill rivers—that together offer shelter to the world’s biggest summer beluga population. Pew’s Oceans North Canada project has been working for several years with industry and government partners to develop a habitat management plan that would make the whales’ use of... Read More

  • What’s Next for the U.S. Arctic Ocean?

    Shell Oil announced last week that it would discontinue its exploration efforts in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. But without strong standards for oil and gas exploration, development and production activities—as well as long-term protections for particularly sensitive areas—the ecosystem is still at risk. Read More