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North Pole: The Expedition, Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Cape Tegetthoff, Champ Island, Franz Josef Land, Ninety Degrees North
Arctic Ocean: Or is it a sea?
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic North Polar Region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions. The International Hydrographic Organization recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it a Mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. Alternatively, the Arctic Ocean can be seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean.
Almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, the Arctic Ocean is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year and almost completely in winter. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy fresh water inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities.
Our southward journey had begun. We would sail for about 24 hours in the Arctic Sea before reaching Franz Josef Land. Onboard, we had an important briefing about zodiac and helicopter landings. Weather permitting, we would do a few landings on islands that form Franz Josef Land.
Enroute we sighted 2 polar bears. The light was good. Wish I had a lens with a longer focal length. So be it.
The Arctic Ocean occupies a roughly circular basin and covers an area of about 14,056,000 square kms., almost the size of Russia. The coastline is 45,390 km long. It is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America, Greenland, and by several islands.
It is generally taken to include Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, White Sea and other tributary bodies of water. It is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Bering Strait and to the Atlantic Ocean through the Greenland Sea and Labrador Sea. Countries bordering the Arctic Ocean are: Russia, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the United States.
The log at 12 noon on day 7:
Location: 87º 08’ N, 54º 17’ E
Wind speed: 5 knots
Temperature: 2.4 degrees C
Distance from North Pole: 172 NM
Arctic Ocean Image Gallery Photo viewer
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