7 Characteristics of Arctic

The Arctic is the name given to the region surrounding the North Pole. It includes the Arctic Ocean, thousands of islands and the northern part of the European, Asian and North American continents.

It is a strategic region from a political and military point of view. Some countries in the northern hemisphere, such as Canada, Russia and the United States, maintain military bases in the Arctic to protect their borders and trade routes.

In parallel, scientists have studied the animal and plant life of the region with the aim of discovering means of human survival in the Arctic.


1.     Arctic Territory

The Arctic Territory consists of the northern regions of Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It also includes Greenland and most of Iceland.

South of the Arctic is a region that has equally cold winters but warmer summers. This is an area commonly called subarctic.

It is made up of all northern areas that have average temperatures below 10 °C for more than four months a year. These include areas of Central Asia and Siberia, central Alaska and Canada, and parts of northern Europe.

2.     Natural resources

The natural resources of the Arctic have been used throughout history, especially its food sources.

During the last period of the Ice Age in Europe, about 10,000 years ago, men were already hunting in the Arctic. The best fishing grounds in the world are located on the edges of the region, especially on the coasts of Greenland and Iceland.

Soil forms slowly in the Arctic, basically because the harsh cold and abundant snow slow down the process of rock decomposition.

Under the ground there is a permanently frozen layer called permafrost , which can reach depths of up to 300 meters. The heat of spring only melts the ice on the ground.

3.     Mineral resources

There are valuable coal deposits in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia. Norwegians and Russians explore mines on Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.

The subarctic areas of Canada have deposits of radioactive minerals, such as thorium and uranium. Also in the north of Canada and Russia there are deposits of lead, iron, nickel and oil. Alaska has large oil reserves.

Norway, Sweden and Finland have iron mines, while Alaska, Canada and Russia exploit gold and copper. There are also tin mines in the Arctic part of Russia.

The largest known natural deposits of cryolite, a mineral used to make aluminum and glass, are found in Greenland.

4.     Vegetation

Low, swampy plains, lichens and shrubs cover most of the terrain in northern Russia, Siberia and Canada.

These areas are called tundra. Other common Arctic plants are grasses, reeds and flowers such as saxifrage. Sphagnum and other similar plants thrive in ponds along with other types of moss.

About 1,700 types of plants grow in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. Among them there are 900 varieties of flowers. During the summer, poppies and bluebells are born in the region.

5.     Fauna

The most common animals in the Arctic and Subarctic are reindeer and caribou. Large herds of these animals roam the Arctic grasslands.

Also living in the region are stoats, martens, sables (highly sought after by hunters due to the high commercial value of their skins), bears, foxes, hares and squirrels.

Leminoes and dormice, small mouse-like animals, compete with caribou and reindeer for Arctic pastures.

A single pair of lemmings or dormice can give birth to more than a hundred offspring in a year. Their numbers reach an extreme point every three or four years.

This cycle interferes with the population of other animals and even men. Foxes and birds, such as snowy or snowy owls, prey on these small animals.

6.     Climate

Winter temperatures are around minus 34°C in most of the Arctic, including the area around the North Pole.

The coldest climate is found in northeastern Siberia, in the region surrounding Verkhoyansk. January temperatures drop on average to minus 40°C and have already reached minus 69°C, probably the coldest ever recorded at the pole.

The rest of the areas of Siberia and the subarctic sections of Central Asia, Canada and Central Alaska have an average temperature of 29°C below zero.

The mildest winters are recorded in the coastal regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, where January temperatures are around 1°C below zero.

In these regions, summers are milder, with temperatures in July around 7°C.

The hottest summers occur in the interior of Siberia, Alaska and Canada. The average temperatures in these regions are around 16°C. The meteorological bases of these regions have recorded temperatures of 32°C.

In many regions of the Arctic, precipitation reaches 150 to 250 mm per year, which includes snowmelt. This is less than some of the largest deserts in the world.

Despite low annual rainfall, Arctic lands can have a very wet subsoil because moisture evaporates slowly and drainage conditions are poor.

7.     arctic peoples

The population of the Arctic is of diverse origin. The basis of their diet is meat and fish. Most of the inhabitants of the Arctic coasts live from fishing and hunting for seals and whales.

The Eskimos predominate among the peoples of the Arctic. Their peoples stretched from northeastern Greenland to the Siberian coast of the Bering Sea.

Americanoids: Several tribes of northeastern Siberia so closely resemble the Indians of the Pacific Northwest coast in their physical characteristics that scientists often call them Americanoids.

However, their way of life brings them much closer to the Eskimos. These peoples are also called Paleosiberians. Among the American tribes are the Chukchi , the Koryak and the Kamchadais.

The Mongol peoples live in north-central Siberia. The yacutes occupy the region west of the Paleosiberians.

They raise reindeer and dogs. The Tungus live along the tributaries of the Yenissei River and are engaged in reindeer husbandry and, eventually, fishing.

The Finns live in the arctic areas of European Russia. They are related to modern Finns or Suomis. The Zirians constitute the largest of these groups.

In the far north, they lead a nomadic life as reindeer herders. The Lapps live in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland. They have been raising reindeer for at least a thousand years.