Link #48: The Smallest Ocean in the World Is the Arctic Ocean

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Link #48: The Smallest Ocean in the World Is the Arctic Ocean.

A bathymetric/topographic of the Arctic Ocean. NOAA PD image

The Northern Lights that we talked about in our last post mainly occur over the Arctic and Antarctic regions. These are two regions which are dominated by two oceans, the Arctic and the Southern.

However, it isn’t only the Northern Lights which make the Arctic region unlike most others on the planet. Another speciality of this area is the fact that the Arctic Ocean is the smallest ocean on earth. But how small is the smallest ocean on earth? The following should reveal this to you.

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How Small is the Smallest Ocean in the World?

The Arctic region. Origin: CIA World Factbook. PD image

The smallest ocean in the world is not small at all. It actually covers an area of about 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles). It may be the smallest amongst all the other oceans but it isn’t so small when compared to the land masses.

If you were to compare the size of the Arctic Ocean with the size of North America, you’ll find it to be about 150 percent larger. If this surprises you then it’s only because you haven’t really considered the facts.

For instance, consider the fact that 98 percent of the water found on earth is contained in its oceans. More importantly, consider that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is nothing but oceans. In the light of these facts, it shouldn’t surprise you that the smallest ocean on earth covers more area than the third largest continent on the planet.

One of the more interesting facts about the Arctic Ocean is that it is almost completely landlocked by various land masses around it. The Arctic Ocean is surrounded by Norway, Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

Is Arctic Ocean Solid for Most of the Year?

Wildest Arctic
Wildest Arctic. Image credit: Lwp Kommunikáció cc2.0

If you’ve heard of the Arctic Ocean before, it’s likely that you were told that this is one ocean that is solid on the surface for the better part of the year. On the other hand, you may have heard of the Frozen Ocean because that’s what the Arctic Ocean was known before it was named Arctic Ocean.

That’s right, folks. The Arctic Ocean is frozen for the vast majority of the year. However, this doesn’t mean that the Arctic Ocean is dead. In fact, it’s fairly rich in biological diversity. There are tunnels below its surface known as brine channels. These tunnels house flatworms and other creatures along with algae and bacteria.

Moreover, even though the Arctic Ocean doesn’t melt completely, parts of its surface do melt from time to time. This melting ice creates ponds on the surface which attract various types of organisms ranging from polar bears to octopuses, whales, seals, fish, and even plankton.

The Arctic Ocean, however, is not expected to remain solid forever. As a matter of fact, the ocean is melting from what some scientists say is global warming. Global warming is simply an increase in the overall temperature of the planet’s surface. While some scientists believe that global warming is the reason the Arctic Ocean is melting, others say that the melting is natural.

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