The Arctic, also AHRKTHK, is located at the North Pole lying north of the Arctic Circle (latitude 66 .30° north). Arctic land areas extend to the coast of Siberia, Iceland, Greenland, Northern Alaska, Canada’s northernmost area and the Arctic Archipelago. It includes the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, and the Norwegian Sea.
The sun never shines on much of the Arctic during the winter for about six months—September to February. But it shines on the entire region for at least part of the day from March to September.
People long believed that the Arctic region Was a cold, barren place where human beings cannot live. But explorers and scientists found that, except for Greenland, nine-tenths of all this area lands have no snow and ice in summer. Berries, vegetables, and flowers grow in a few places.
Walrus, beluga whale or White whale, and Blue whale are found in this region. Walrus has a massive blubbery body, long whiskers and tusks of about 51cm set in a tiny head. The walrus is about 4 metres in length and about 2.7 metres in breadth. It weighs about 1,600 kilograms. More than 7cm blubbers protect it from the icy Arctic waters. Its foot-long whiskers help it search food, usually crabs, mussels, and snails. The long tusks of the male are not used for eating but for fighting rivals during mating season.
Beluga whales or white whales are a kind of dolphin about 5 metres long. They gather with herds of a thousand or more at the mouths of Arctic rivers every summer. They then swim up hundreds of miles upriver to Warmer waters, where the calves are born. The males fight against the rivals for a suitable place for the females breeding. An infant is born usually dark coloured and turns white in its fifth or sixth year. The white colouration provides excellent camouflage against the ice, foam and white caps of Arctic waters. The distinctive bulge on its forehead is a fat-reservoir.
The Blue whale is the planet’s largest animal. It reaches 31 metres (102 feet) in length and weighs up to 118,000 kilograms. Its heart’s size is like a small automobile and pumps more than 15,140 litres (4,000 gallons) of blood. A female gives birth every two to three years to a calf weighing about 6,350 kilograms. The Blue whale is a mammal, not a fish, and lives up to 50 years.
A number of people live in this area. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have adapted to the Arctic atmosphere. All Arctic people make their clothing from animal skins. Their main food is meat and fish. Eskimos are the most widespread race from north-eastern Greenland to the Siberian coast of the Bering Sea. They have their igloos to reside in Comfort in the coldest region.
Northern nations such as Canada, the Soviet Union, and the United States have built military installations in the Arctic to protect their frontiers and trade routes. To build these installations, people have had to learn many things about this harsh region. Engineers have learned how to construct houses on the permanently frozen soil, and scientists have studied the plant and animal life to find ways that people can survive in the Arctic.
The Arctic has great importance to human beings for getting information, especially about weather. Information from Arctic weather stations helps scientists predict the weather farther south—in Europe, Asia, Canada the United States.