One of the coldest places on Earth, the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by the northern parts of Europe, Asia, North America and Greenland. These icy lands are rich in minerals and wildlife, but are home to few people. In summer, when temperatures reach 0„a C (32 „a F), warm currents from the Pacific and Atlantic melt some of the ice. With the help of icebreakers to clear their path, ships are able to sail along the coasts of Asia and North America.
The Arctic is the smallest and shallowest of the world¡¦s oceans. Most of its surface is covered by a frozen mass of floating ice about 2m (6 ft) thick. The North Pole lies in the centre of the Arctic ocean of drifting pack ice.
Giant icebergs break off glaciers in Greenland and drift south into the North Atlantic Ocean. They rise up to 120m (400 ft) above sea ¡V level. As only a fraction of an iceberg shows above water, they are a shipping hazard.
About 800,000 indigenous people live in the Arctic. The Yu¡¦ Pik of Alaska are part of the Eskimo group that includes Inuit in Canada and Greenland and Yuit in Siberia. Many have given up nomadic life and now live in Villages. The Arctic is the workplace of above 2,000,000 engineers and traders from the south
On dark nights, spectacular colored lights or aurora can bee seen in the sky. Caused by electricity in the upper atmosphere, they are brightest in mid winter when the sun never rises and invisible in summer due to 24 ¡V hour sun.
Arctic Ocean Facts:
Area: 14,089,600 sq km (5,440,000 sq miles) Average Depth: 1,330bm (4,360 ft) Average Ice Thickness: 1.5 to 3 m (4.9 to 9.8 ft) Lowest Temperature: -70 degree Celsius (-94 degree Fahrenheit) on the north most tip of Greenland
Although Greenland is the world¡¦s largest island, its permanent ice cover means few people live there. The most populated area is the southwest coast, where the climate is less extreme than the blank centre. The island is a self ¡V governing territory of Denmark.
Cod, haddock, halibut and shrimp fishing are the mainstay of Greenland¡¦s economy. Fish ¡V processing factories freeze and can the fish for export to Europe and the USA. Much of the cod is made into fish fingers.
Capital City: Nuuk (Godthaab) Area: 2,175,600 sq km (840,000sq miles) Population: 56, 569 Main Languages: Danish, Greenlandic Major Religion: Christianity Currency: Danish Krone