in

The Arctic

The Arctic is quite possibly one of those places that you don’t want to visit, unless you plan on becoming a famous explorer and adventure.

It is seriously, chilly, chilly, chilly up there with some super harsh weather!

Well let’s get on with it and see what this freezing place is all about.

Arctic facts for kids

  • The Arctic is located at the northernmost part of Earth
  • The name ‘Arctic’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘bear’.
  • Winter temperatures can drop below −50 °C
  • Polar bears live in the Arctic, near the North Pole
  • In total, only about 4 million people live in the arctic
  • The Arctic region is home to the North Pole
  • Eight nations surround the Arctic The U.S. Canada, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia
  • The Arctic has natural resources, including oil and natural gas, large quantities of minerals including iron ore, Nickle, and copper

What Types of Animals Survive in the Arctic?

The Arctic expectation should have exciting life forms since it is one of the most diverse and exciting regions globally. There are birds, sea mammals, and other mammals like bears. Each of the animals has special features that allow them to survive the climate. Most of them live around Greenland. I have put together a brief list of some of those animals.

Puffin 

A puffin is an amazingly adorable bird that spends most of its life in the sea, hopping across the water surface. Puffin also has beaks that change color from red to grey in the winter. They are common in Greenland, Iceland, Westfjords.

Common eider

Male common eider has brown feathers while the female has black ones. They are divers since they prefer a diet of mollusks and crustaceans.  They are common in Greenland and Spitsbergen.

Arctic tern

An amazing fact about Arctic terns is that they have a lifespan of 30 years. Populations of Arctic tern are common all around the Arctic, especially in the summers. They characterize a small round head, red beak, long angular wings, and short legs. They are divers as well. 

Purple sandpiper

My discovery led to me finding out that purple sandpipers are plump, medium-sized creatures. Their feathers are glossy with a purple sheen, which makes them hard to spot. The most outstanding feature is their short yellow legs. They are common in the Arctic Ocean islands, Spitsbergen, and the Baffin Bay. 

x
Facts for Kids video

Apart from birds, other animals live entirely beneath the waters in the Arctic and partly in the Arctic ocean waters. Below are those animals in their respective groups.

Whales 

  • Minke Whale 
  • Bowhead Whale
  • Narwhal
  • Beluga Whale 

Other Animals

  • Polar Bear
  • Walrus
  • Musk ox
  • Arctic Wolf 
  • Svalbard Reindeer 
  • Bearded Seal
  • Arctic Fox
  • Snowy owl
  • Arctic hare  
  • Sea lions
  • Killer whale

What does the Arctic look Like?

After thorough research, which was entirely online, I discovered that the Arctic is partly a  mass of water, of which most of it is frozen, which makes the arctic ocean. That is how there are glaciers and icebergs. It also features breathtaking landscapes like sea ice, coastal wetlands, tundra, mountains, and rivers.

 Even though the frozen water is somewhat fresh, the Arctic ocean is salty. Some parts of the arctic ocean area froze throughout the year, giving it the icy perception. A blanket of snow interestingly covers the sea ice. Also, it gets frozen and extra dark in September.

Do humans live in the Arctic?

Even though there are facts to help make sense of it, I find it amazing that a significant human population lives in the Arctic. It has about forty million, although many people live in the Arctic warmer and greener parts. The cities in the warmer parts have opportunities for schools and jobs. Part of the Arctic’s population is  indigenous people;

  • Aleuts
  • Athabascans
  • Gwich’in
  • Inuit
  • Sami

There are also other indigenous people in the Russian arctic. The people in the arctic are living on three different continents where the Arctic touches. The main activities among the community living in the arctic are reindeer keeping, which is an age-old tradition, especially among the Sami people. Modernization has already reached the human population living in the Arctic. Even in the deep parts.

How did the Arctic get its name?

When the Greeks heard of the went to the north pole, they called it Arktos, which means bear. The name is about the Great Bear constellation in the northern circle. The Vikings took their name when they colonized Southern Greenland. The title caught its root after a series of expeditions by people from around the world. 

For example, Russians began to explore the Arctic in the 12th century. Such explorations led to general information about the arctic and the name along with the data. The arctic region became a Russian empire in the 17th century. Europeans were also part of early expeditions by outsiders across the Arctic to prove the Arctic again. The name only gained strength after a series of explorations.

How cold is the Arctic?

I already knew that the Arctic is cold, but further discovered that the minimum temperature is -68 degrees Celsius. That’s the lowest temperature level ever recorded in Greenland and Northern Siberia during the winter. The average temperatures in the region are -34 degrees Celsius, which is quite cold considering I have been to less cold areas, which I considered were still rather chilly for me.

During the summer, temperatures fall between 3-12 degrees Celsius. It experiences long winters and short summers.  The Arctic is warmer than the Antarctic. The reason for this is that the Arctic is mostly ocean surrounded by land. Although the sea is cold, it is warmer than the ice and therefore warms the ice. Between the summers and winters, I will admit that it’s still a place that I would wear warmly as it seems that even when it’s hot, it’s still cold.

What are the plants found in the Arctic circle?

Arctic Poppy 

There are approximately 1700 plant species in the Arctic Tundra.  The plants include flowering plants, dwarf shrubs, herbs, grasses, mosses, and lichens. The soil in the region that allows plant life to thrive is a type of soil known as permafrost. This type of soil consists of a layer of soil and partially decomposed matter frozen all year round. 

It partially thaws and refreezes annually. With this phenomenon, only plants with shallow roots are likely to thrive, which means trees cannot grow there. The growing season is also short, which contributes to the kind of vegetation in the region. The plants grow close together, close to the ground, and are only a few centimeters tall. Here are a  few plant species that grow in the Arctic.

  • Arctic Poppy 

It grows up to about 15 centimeters in height and produces a single flower on the stem. The flower grows toward the sun. The petals on the flowers look like cups to facilitate the absorption of sunlight. 

  • Arctic Willow

The arctic willow is a caribou’s favorite snack for caribou, musk oxen, and arctic hares. It has a dwarfish appearance. The locals, Inuit people, refer to it as the tongue plants owing to the shape of its leaves.

  • Bearberry

Bearberry has leathery leaves and silky hairs to insulation from the cold and wind. It grows to the ground, and its name comes from the fact that it bears like its red berries.

  • Cottongrass

The name cotton grass is from the characteristic feature on this plant, with fluffy white tuffs. Migrating snow geese and caribou use it for sustenance.

  • Pasque Flower

This plant is common in northern Alaska. It features silky hairs for insulation.

  • Purple Saxifrage

The plant grows close together in a tight clump and blooms the earliest. Its purple star-shaped flowers stand above the melting snow.

Who discovered the north pole?

The north pole has been a habitat for humans for thousands of years. However, at such times it remained hidden from the world until when civilization started to spread. Two American explorers registered the first recognized discovery of the north pole in the early 20th century. After reading their stories, I discovered that it’s not clear who got to find it first.

After eight trials in twenty-three years to access the north pole, Robert E. Peary sent word from the Indian Harbor Labrador that he had reached the North Pole in April 1909. Before his message, reports were that Dr. Frederick A. Cook, who had gone silent while on his expedition in the Arctic, said that he reached the pole in 1908.

The debate comes in because it is only logical that the North pole discovery could happen only once. Peary claimed the National Geographic Society reexamined success, which led to a finding that there were holes in his story. Cook claimed to have discovered the North pole seemed to have better grounding because his North Pole’s descriptions are in line with other explorers’ reports.  However, over the years, there is still significant doubt about who between the two discovered it.

What is the climate in the Arctic circle?

There is the likelihood of assuming that the arctic climate is the only winter because part of it is ice and snow and cold.  Without the effects of climate change in play, the arctic climate characterizes long cold winters and brief cool summers. The arctic ocean moderates the climate in the Arctic. 

It hardly rains in the Arctic, although there is plenty of precipitation. The precipitation falls in the form of snow during the winter. The little amount of rain that falls happens during the winter in the central Arctic ocean section.

The showers occur when warm air moves to this region. An interesting fact about the summers is that snow falls even then.  These climatic conditions are sometimes severe but can still sustain life. Several factors that  influence the Arctic climate are: 

  • Latitude and Sunlight 
  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Geography
  • Humidity 
  • Clouds
  • Precipitation

How cold is the Arctic in Winter?

The arctic has different temperatures at different times of the year. The coldest month is February, and temperatures can go as low as -60 degrees Celsius. The Canadian parts that occupy the Arctic are the ones that tend to get this cold.  

The Arctic hardly receives any direct sunlight, which positively contributes to the low temperatures.

Why is the Arctic so crucial to the world?

Climate change has been a major issue for a lot of governments. There is a lot of concern around the world around the effects of climate change on the ice. The Arctic and Antarctic are considerably affected by climate change.

The results have been causing the ice in the arctic to melt as the earth gets warmer. The Arctic is essential to the world for several reasons, such as.

Maintaining the livelihoods of coastal communities

Believe it or not, the whole world, mainly coastal communities, will be affected if the arctic ice continues to melt. The organizations use ice roads that have recently started breaking due to surges in temperatures.

After thawing, the salty ice water contaminates the freshwater systems. Is in turn, affects the ecosystem of the ocean. Seeing how the oceans connect at specific points is vital to ensure that the Arctic gets saved. 

The arctic prevents the production of gas hydrate deposits

 Gas hydrates are a combination of ice and methane that often form under high pressure and low temperature. Any increase in temperatures and pressure causes the gas hydrates to destabilize and decompose.

The product after decomposition is methane, which later goes into the atmosphere. Methane is commonly known as a greenhouse gas. In time the greenhouse gas affects the world climate negatively. Considering that the arctic has considerably large ice deposits, it is crucial for the world that they remain intact.

The existence of the Arctic prevents erosion of coastlines

When the ice in the arctic begins to melt, more regions with water come into existence. The result is larger waves, which, when they combine with warm seas that are stormier, cause erosions in the coastlines. The oceans surround continents, and once they get eroded, there is a land loss.

Only the rocky coast can withstand the erosion. After years of erosion, however, there is the possibility that the whole world could end up covered by water. The arctic is a store shelf for extra water in the form of ice.

How big is the Arctic?

The Arctic consists of the ocean and surrounding land, Greenland and Spitsbergen, Northern Alaska, Canada, Norway, and Russia. It is 14.5 million square kilometers.  A fun fact about the arctic boundaries is that they are defined by the northern limit of trees on land or by a mean July temperature. This occurrence means that the border can change significantly with the recent climate change.

I have always wondered what the person who came up with Greenland’s name had in mind when extensive ice sheets cover the area. However, perhaps the mane is because that part of the green is lush tundra and does not have glaciers. The arctic is 1.5 times the size of the continental US. Some parts of the arctic are extremely deep-going as far as 4000 meters. The ice on the arctic is about 2-3 meters thick. 

The ice often breaks up and drifts around the polar basin due to winds and currents. It breaks up due to a blizzard but soon refreezes. I’ll admit that it sounds like an exciting place to visit. Now I know my next vacation destination.

Where is the Arctic?

The Arctic is right up in the northernmost part of Earth.

It is also called the Arctic region which is made up of the Arctic Ocean, brrrrrr, parts of Russia, Greenland, Canada, USA, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland.

It is certainly spread out far and wide.

Scientists often describe the Arctic as the area above the ‘Arctic Circle’.

This is actually an imaginary line that circles around the top of the globe.

The Arctic

Very Little Light at Times?

As the Earth tilts, there is at least one day a year that’s in complete darkness.

Can you imagine trying to find your way around and how cold you’d be!

But, there is also one full day of sunshine.

That would be quite weird.

Who lives in the Arctic?

There are indigenous people who live here, called the ‘Inuits’ and they’ve found extremely inventive ways to adapt to the unbelievably severe living conditions, which is one of the harshest places on the planet.

Wow, there are over 4 million people that call this home, not just Inuits, there are other people living there too.

Inuit People

Scientists check things

Scientists wanted to check if the ice sheet in the Arctic Ocean rested on land or water, so in 1958, a submarine called the USS Nautilus sailed beneath the frozen ice of the Arctic Ocean.

They proved that this massive ice sheet rests on water. Job done, now we know!

How did it get its name?

The word ‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word for bear, Arktos.

But if you think it’s about polar bears, then think again.

Apparently, the name refers to two constellations that are seen in the northern sky — ‘Ursa Minor’ (Little Bear) and ‘Ursa Major’ (Great Bear).

Over recent years, the Arctic region has shrunk due to global warming, which is the gradual increase of the Earth’s temperature.

Do animals live in the Arctic?

Surprisingly, there is life on the Arctic, despite its weather conditions.

But again, these forms of life have adapted. T

here are small shrubs, herbs, mosses and lichens.

There are also some animals including polar bears, wolverines, squirrels, birds, walrus’ and seals.

They’ve got some survival power!

Polar Bear

Narwhals

An amazing species found only in the Arctic is the narwhal, which is often called the ‘unicorn of the sea.’

What a strange name, so why is it called that.

Male narwhals have a straight tusk that comes straight out of the front of their head and it can grow to over 3m in length!

Narwhal

The North Pole

Ever wondered where the North Pole was, well its right here in the Arctic.

The Arctic has quite a few natural resources including fish, oil, gas and a number of minerals.

The ice of the Arctic has about 10% of the world’s freshwater.

This giant, white, frozen reservoir, which is a massive natural place that collects water, and it reflects sunlight, helping keep it cool.

It also plays a massive role in keeping our global climate stable.

So, there it all is…some awesome facts about the Arctic.

We hope you enjoyed them and you’re the Arctic expert.