The Arctic Ocean is known as the smallest ocean in the whole world. It is located in the northern hemisphere and centrally approximating the North Pole which is mostly the Arctic North Polar Region. It is usually recognized as the only smallest and shallowest of all the five major oceanic divisions in the world. As familiar with everyone, it is known as ‘The Arctic Ocean’ but according to International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) it is known and recognized as an ocean. Some of the oceanographers like to call it as the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or just the Arctic Sea as such which is further classified as Mediterranean Sea or an estuary of the Atlantic sea. The Arctic Ocean is visible from the northeast part of all-encompassing World oceans. It is margined with Laptev, Chukchi, Barents, White, Kara, Greenland, and East Siberia and Beaufort. According to some of the oceanographers it is also the Bering and Norwegian seas which are least known as basins and bodies of water in the world ocean because of its remoteness, hostile weather and perennial or even seasonal ice cover situation.
The Arctic Ocean has always responded to global change and it may even be capable of initiating dramatic climatic changes with the help of alternations induced in the oceanic thermohaline circulation which occurs due to its cold, southward moving currents or even with the help of its effects on the global albedo eventually resulting in total ice cover areas.
The Arctic Ocean is till date the smallest of earth’s oceans, which comprises of only a little more than one sixth area of the next largest ocean which is the Indian Ocean. The area of Indian Ocean which is 54,40,000 square miles (14:090,000 square km) which is equal to five times larger than that of the considered largest sea, the Mediterranean Sea. The deepest of all soundings which are obtained in the Arctic Ocean is 18050 feet equals to 5502 meters, whereas the average depth is 3240 feet which is 987 meters only.
In the Cenozoic Era, the tectonic history of the Arctic basin which can be considered about 65 million years ago was largely known from available geophysical data. It is very specific from aeromagnetic and seismic data that the Eurasia Basin was formed by seafloor spreading along the axis of the Nansen-Gakkel Ridge. The present Lomonosov Ridge was formed due to the focus on spreading under the edge of the Asian continent from which a narrow splinter of the northern continental which was ultimately separated and even translated northward. The origin of the Amerasia is not yet clear as such. According to the famous researchers, they favor a hypothesis which indicates an opening by rotation of the Arctic-Alaska lithospheric plate away from the North American plate during the Cretaceous Period which is about 145 to 165 million years ago as such. In order to understand the basic origin of the Arctic Ocean’s basins and the ridges is actually a critical combination of reconstructing the paleoclimatic evolution of the ocean and even for the understanding its relevance in relation to the global environmental changes which are occurring off lately.
The Oceanography of the Arctic Ocean includes water flow and sea ice which are the two significant characteristics occurrences in this area which accumulates most of the solution and problems as such. In the larger parts of the Arctic Ocean, the top layer of about 50m is acquired with low level of salinity and even low temperature than the rest. It remains stable the salinity effect on density is bigger than the temperature effect. It is usually fed by the freshwater input of the big Siberian and Canadian streams and even the water of which quasi floats on the saltier and which is even denser, deeper ocean water. Most of the area of Arctic Ocean is covered by sea ice which varies in extent and seasonal thickness, the main extent of the ice is decreasing since the year1980 from the average winter value of 60,23,200 square meters and at a rate of 3% per decade. The variation in the seasons are about 27, 02,700 square meters which occurs maximum in April and minimum in the month of September. The sea ice is affected by the wind and ocean currents as they move and rotate in very large area of ice promptly known as sea ice. These zones of compression also rise and the ice piles up from the pack ice to build in a specific formation.
The Arctic Ocean is constrained in a polar climate which is definitely under the influence of the Quaternary glaciation which has characterized by constant cold and eventually narrow temperature which ranges annually. Winters over here are characterized by Polar night considerate as cold and stable weather conditions and even clear skies, whereas summers are characterized by the continuous daylight considered under the effect of the midnight sun which has damp and foggy weather and even weak cyclones with rain and snow. The surface temperature of the Arctic Ocean is fairly constant and is also near to the freezing point of the sea water. As the Arctic Ocean consists of saltwater, the temperature reaches up to -1.8° C which is 28.8° F before the occurrence of freezing.
The climate of this particular region has varied drastically and significantly in the past. 55 million years ago, during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum, this particular region had reached an average annual temperature of 10-20° C and the surface of waters of the northern most of the Arctic Ocean stays warm seasonally at least which is far more than enough to support tropical life forms which requires surface temperatures of over 22°C as such.
ANIMAL & PLANT LIFE
There is availability of endangered species in the Arctic Ocean which is inclusive of Walrus and Whales as such. The ecosystem of this area is very fragile and it is slow to change as well as to recover from disruptions or even in the case of recovering the damages. There is abundance of Lion’s mane jellyfish in the waters of Arctic and the banded gunnel which is the only species of gunnel found alive in this ocean,
The Arctic Ocean has an extinct plant life except for the availability of Phytoplankton which is a crucial part of the ocean and they are massively available in the Arctic Ocean and they feed on the nutrients from the rivers and the currents of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As during summer times, the sun is out visible day and night, this gives the Phytoplankton a chance to photosynthesize for a longer duration and according reproduce quickly, whereas in the winter season they struggle to acquire enough light to survive for their lives in such vivid climatic area.
There abundance availability of petroleum, natural gas fields, polymetallic nodules, placer deposits, sand andfishes, seals, gravel aggregatesand even whales in Arctic Oceanic area. The political dead zone near the center of the sea is also the main current focus of a dispute which is mounting between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark so as to be named. It is significant as such for the global market because it may hold on to 25% or more of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources.