The Arctic Ocean is one of the four oceans that exist on planet Earth. It is the smallest ocean when it comes to size and depth. According to the researchers, the Arctic Ocean contains “about 1% of global seawater volume” (Forbes, 2019). It takes around 4.3% of the global ocean area (Eakins & Sharman, 2010). Therefore, it is regarded as the tiniest ocean basin. The area of this ocean is 14.75 million square kilometers (Dyrcz, 2017). Its average depth is around 1,205 meters (Briney, 2019). The deepest point of the Arctic Ocean is called the Fram Basin, which is located at -4,665 m (Briney, 2019). When it comes to the volume of water that the Arctic Ocean contains, it equals to 18,750,000 million cubic kilometers (Eakins & Sharman, 2010). The Arctic Ocean is entirely located in the northern hemisphere, between Eurasia and North America. Briney (2019) explains that the Arctic Ocean is situated north of the Arctic Circle, while its waters mark the location of the Geographic North Pole.
The Arctic Ocean was formed as a result of the evolution of Paleoasian, Paleoatlantic, and Paleopacific oceans (Petrov et al., 2016). Before that, the Arctic Ocean could be called a huge lake, the freshwater of which flowed in the south through a narrow strait into the Atlantic. Then, due to the spread of deep tectonic layers, the strait began to expand, and the salt water from the Atlantic poured into the Arctic, turning it into the ocean. The waters of the Arctic Ocean have a reserve of heat because they are connected to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Thus, the western regions of the ocean are not covered by ice even in winter because they are close to the North Atlantic Current. Yet, the majority of the surface of the Arctic Ocean is covered with ice because of its low salinity.
Humans majorly utilize this body of water for the sake of research. Briney (2019) notes that currently, scientists explore the depths of the Arctic Ocean to track the scope of climate change. Also, investigating the waters of this ocean, the researchers can “discover new species of lifeforms” (Briney, 2019). Therefore, the Arctic Ocean provides many oceanographers and hydrographers with a platform for researching nature and human history.
- Briney, A. (2019). Arctic Ocean or Arctic Seas? ThoughtCo, July 03, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/arctic-seas-overview-1435183. Accessed October 10, 2019.
- Dyrcz, C. (2017). Safety of Navigation in the Arctic. Scientific Journal of Polish Naval Academy, 211(4), 129-146.
- Eakins, B. W., & Sharman, G. F. (2010). Volumes of the World’s Oceans from ETOPO1. NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO, 7.
- Forbes, D. L. (2019). Arctic Deltas and Estuaries: A Canadian Perspective. In Coasts and Estuaries (pp. 123-147). London: Elsevier.
- Petrov, O., Morozov, A., Shokalsky, S., Sobolev, N., Kashubin, S., Pospelov, I., & Petrov, E. (2016). Geological Structure and History of the Arctic Ocean. In EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, 18(1788), p.1.