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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WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts today praised a new international agreement that prevents commercial fisheries from starting in the Central Arctic Ocean before adequate science is collected and appropriate regulatory mechanisms are in place. The signatories include the five Arctic coastal countries—the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland/Denmark, and Norway—plus China,... Read More
A team of U.S.- and Hong Kong-based scientists completed a survey of the species composition of the shark fin trade in Hong Kong. Their findings provide the most comprehensive estimate to date of the high number of species, many of which are threatened with extinction, that are found in the global shark fin trade. Read More
No nation on Earth has ever commercially fished in the high seas of the Arctic Ocean for one simple reason: Throughout human history, those waters have been covered with ice. This week before the annual Arctic Circle gathering in Reykjavík, Iceland, scientists from nine countries reminded the world of a letter—signed by more than 2,000 scientists from 67 countries in... Read More