Arctic Ocean Geography

Arctic Ocean Geography: A summary of information about Arctic Ocean Geography, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

You are here:
All CountriesArctic Ocean > Arctic Ocean Geography

Arctic Ocean: Geography

Location
body of water mostly north of the Arctic Circle
Geographic coordinates
90 00 N, 0 00 E
Map references
Arctic Region
Area
total: 14.056 million sq km
note: includes Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea,
East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea,
Laptev Sea, Northwest Passage, and other tributary water bodies
Area - comparative
slightly less than 1.5 times the size of the US
Coastline
45,389 km
Climate
polar climate characterized by persistent cold and relatively
narrow annual temperature ranges; winters characterized by continuous
darkness, cold and stable weather conditions, and clear skies; summers
characterized by continuous daylight, damp and foggy weather, and weak
cyclones with rain or snow
Terrain
central surface covered by a perennial drifting polar icepack
that averages about 3 meters in thickness, although pressure ridges
may be three times that size; clockwise drift pattern in the Beaufort
Gyral Stream, but nearly straight-line movement from the New Siberian
Islands (Russia) to Denmark Strait (between Greenland and Iceland);
the icepack is surrounded by open seas during the summer, but more
than doubles in size during the winter and extends to the encircling
landmasses; the ocean floor is about 50% continental shelf (highest
percentage of any ocean) with the remainder a central basin
interrupted by three submarine ridges (Alpha Cordillera, Nansen
Cordillera, and Lomonosov Ridge)
Elevation extremes
lowest point: Fram Basin -4,665 m
highest point: sea level 0 m
Natural resources
sand and gravel aggregates, placer deposits,
polymetallic nodules, oil and gas fields, fish, marine mammals (seals
and whales)
Natural hazards
ice islands occasionally break away from northern
Ellesmere Island; icebergs calved from glaciers in western Greenland
and extreme northeastern Canada; permafrost in islands; virtually ice
locked from October to June; ships subject to superstructure icing
from October to May
Environment - current issues
endangered marine species include
walruses and whales; fragile ecosystem slow to change and slow to
recover from disruptions or damage; thinning polar icepack
Geography - note
major chokepoint is the southern Chukchi Sea
(northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait);
strategic location between North America and Russia; shortest marine
link between the extremes of eastern and western Russia; floating
research stations operated by the US and Russia; maximum snow cover in
March or April about 20 to 50 centimeters over the frozen ocean; snow
cover lasts about 10 months
Locations:
Home
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Arctic Ocean
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Atlantic Ocean
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Baker Island
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bassas Da India
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswana
Bouvet Island
Brazil
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Clipperton Island
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Europa Island
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Gabon
Gaza Strip
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glorioso Islands
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong
Howland Island
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indian Ocean
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Jan Mayen
Japan
Jarvis Island
Jersey
Johnston Atoll
Jordan
Juan De Nova Island
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kingman Reef
Kiribati
Korea
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Midway Islands
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Navassa Island
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway
Oman
Pacific Ocean
Pakistan
Palau
Palmyra Atoll
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paracel Islands
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Islands
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion
Romania
Rwanda
Saint Helena
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Pierre & Miquelon
Saint Vincent & The Grenadines
San Marino
Sao Tome & Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia & Montenegro
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Southern Ocean
Spain
Spratly Islands
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tromelin Island
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands
Wake Island
Wallis & Futuna
West Bank
Western Sahara
World
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe