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The area inside the Arctic circle is considered as the Arctic region (for the epoch 2010, it is the parallel of latitude that runs 66 ° 33'44" north of the Equator. Sometimes the area where the average temperature for the warmest month (July) is below 10 °C is also used for defining the Arctic region (limite between strong and light colors). The area above the treeline is also indicated (green curve). The Arctic ice cap is shown in white, and the Greenland ice cap in light green.

The Arctic is the region around the Earth's North Pole, opposite the Antarctic region around the South Pole.


In the northern hemisphere, the Arctic includes the Arctic Ocean (which overlies the North Pole) and parts of Canada, Greenland (a territory of Denmark), Russia, the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The word Arctic comes from the Greek word arktos (αρκτως) , which means bear. This is due to the location of the constellation (a group of stars) Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", above the Arctic region.

There are numerous definitions of the Arctic region. The boundary is generally considered to be north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), which is the approximate limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Other definitions are based on climate and ecology, such as the 10°C (50°F) July isotherm, which roughly corresponds to the tree line in most of the Arctic. Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, including Lapland, although by natural science definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic.

The Arctic region consists of a vast ice-covered ocean (which is sometimes considered to be a northern arm of the Atlantic Ocean) surrounded by treeless, frozen ground. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals, and human societies. The Arctic region is a unique area among Earth's ecosystems. The cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions.

The Arctic is subject to drastic changes due to climate impacts. As a result of the global warming, sea ice cover reduces and sea ice characteristics change. The Arctic ecosystems change both physically and biologically. But still there are many unexplored areas and ecosystems in the Arctic region. Results from recent Arctic expeditions and plans for further exploration will be presented and discussed in this two-hour seminar. The presenting institutions include the Norwegian Polar Institute, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute as well as the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research. The seminar will be followed by a reception, providing the opportunity to further discuss German-Norwegian scientific cooperation in the Arctic.[1]

Encyclopædia Britannica

Arctic, northernmost region of Earth, centred on the North Pole and characterized by distinctively polar conditions of climate, plant and animal life, and other physical features. The term is derived from the Greek arktos (“bear”), referring to the northern constellation of the Bear. It has sometimes been used to designate the area within the Arctic Circle—a mathematical line that is drawn at latitude 66°30′ N, marking the southern limit of the zone in which there is at least one annual period of 24 hours during which the sun does not set and one during which it does not rise. This line, however, is without value as a geographic boundary, since it is not keyed to the nature of the terrain. While no dividing line is completely definitive, a generally useful guide is the irregular line marking the northernmost limit of the stands of trees. The regions north of the tree line include Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat), Svalbard, and other polar islands; the northern parts of the mainlands of Siberia, Alaska, and Canada; the coasts of Labrador; the north of Iceland; and a strip of the Arctic coast of Europe. The last-named area, however, is classified as subarctic because of other factors. Conditions typical of Arctic lands are extreme fluctuations between summer and winter temperatures; permanent snow and ice in the high country and grasses, sedges, and low shrubs in the lowlands; and permanently frozen ground (permafrost), the surface layer of which is subject to summer thawing. Three-fifths of the Arctic terrain is outside the zones of permanent ice. The brevity of the Arctic summer is partly compensated by the long daily duration of summer sunshine. International interest in the Arctic and subarctic regions steadily increased during the 20th century, particularly since World War II. Three major factors are involved: the advantages of the North Pole route as a shortcut between important centres of population, the growing realization of economic potentialities such as mineral (especially petroleum) and forest resources and grazing areas, and the importance of the regions in the study of global meteorology. During the 21st Century, the Arctic received increased attention as a bellwether for global climatic change, since studies have shown that the region is warming at a rate several times faster than the rest of the world. The Arctic lands have developed geologically around four nuclei of ancient crystalline rocks. The largest of these, the Canadian Shield, underlies all the Canadian Arctic except for part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. It is separated by Baffin Bay from a similar shield area that underlies most of Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat). The Baltic (or Scandinavian) Shield, centred on Finland, includes all of northern Scandinavia (except the Norwegian coast) and the northwestern corner of Russia. The two other blocks are smaller. The Angaran Shield is exposed between the Khatanga and Lena rivers in north-central Siberia and the Aldan Shield is exposed in eastern Siberia.[2]

The Third Reich’s Arctic Outpost

In 1943, the German navy constructed a secret base on the island of Alexandra Land in the Arctic Ocean. Codenamed “Treasure Hunter,” the station was staffed by meteorologists who provided weather forecasts to German cruisers and submarines in the Arctic. After the war, Soviet officials ordered the base destroyed. “We had only a very vague understanding of where the station was and how much had been preserved,” says Russian Arctic National Park archaeologist Evgeni Ermolov, who led a team that recently rediscovered the site. They found evidence of residences, warehouses, and a network of defensive structures, along with artifacts such as cartridges, batteries, and even pieces of raincoats. “We were surprised to find some artifacts still bearing German military insignia,” says Ermolov. After the station’s destruction, rumors circulated that it had also been a submarine base and was outfitted with fortified bunkers. The team found no evidence to support that theory, but they did discover the remains of a temporary airfield. It was built in July 1944 for a long-range reconnaissance aircraft that set down on the island to evacuate the station. The base’s entire crew had contracted trichinosis after eating undercooked polar bear meat, and had to be flown to Norway for treatment, leaving the station abandoned for the remainder of the war.[3]

Tourist Attractions in the Arctic

The Arctic region is a popular destination for tourists seeking to explore the region's unique landscapes and wildlife. Tromsø in Norway is a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights, while Lapland in Finland offers visitors the chance to ride on a reindeer-drawn sled. Visitors can also explore the Arctic Ocean by taking a cruise through the Northwest Passage or visiting the Canadian Arctic's Qausuittuq National Park.[4]

German Representations of the Far North (17th-19th Centuries) - Writing the Arctic.jpg
  • Arctic Circle: The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line that runs through the Arctic region, marking the area where the sun does not set on the summer solstice and does not rise on the winter solstice. It circles the Earth at approximately 66.5 degrees north of the equator.
  • Arctic Sea Ice: The Arctic region is known for its sea ice, which is an important part of the region's ecosystem. However, climate change has led to a decline in sea ice, causing concern for the region's wildlife and indigenous communities.
  • Northwest Passage: The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic region that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The passage has long been sought after as a quicker route to Asia, but it remains treacherous and difficult to navigate.
  • National Parks: The Arctic region has several national parks, including Canada's Auyuittuq National Park, which is home to some of the region's most impressive landscapes. Russia's Barents Sea Nature Reserve is also a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Land of the Midnight Sun: The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs during summer in the Arctic region, where the sun remains visible even at midnight.

See also

Further reading

  • Richard Cyriax: Sir John Franklin's Last Arctic Expedition; a Chapter in the History of the Royal Navy, Methuen & Co., London 1939
  • Karl Koldewey: The German Arctic Expedition of 1869-1870 – Narrative of the Wreck of the Hansa in the Ice, 2012
  • German Representations of the Far North (17th-19th Centuries): Writing the Arctic, 2020
    • German travellers, explorers, missionaries and scholars produced significant new knowledge about the Arctic in Europe and elsewhere from the 17th until the 19th century. However, until now, no English-language study or collective volume has been dedicated to their representations of the Arctic. Possibly due to linguistic barriers, this corpus has not been sufficiently taken into account in transnational and circumpolar approaches to the fast-growing field of Arctic Studies. This volume serves to heighten awareness about the importance of these writings in view of the history of the Far North. The chapters gathered here offer critical readings of manuscripts and publications, including travelogues, natural histories of the Arctic, newspaper articles and scholarly texts based on first-hand observations, as well as works of fiction. The sources are considered in their historical context, as political, religious, social, economic and cultural aspects are discussed in relation to discourses about the Arctic in general. The volume opens with a spirited preface by Professor Jean Malaurie, France’s most distinguished Arctic specialist and author of The Last Kings of Thule (1955).
  • Tobias Etzold: Nordic, German and EU Interests in the Arctic, 2020

External links