Marine Science Chapters


The Arctic

by Genny Anderson, Biological Sciences Department, Santa Barbara City College

The Arctic
The Arctic is the area surrounding the North Pole. It is nearly all ocean but the center of it is almost always frozen. The north polar area is an ocean, surrounded by land (the northern parts of Canada, Alaska, Russia, Scandinavia, and Greenland). It is quite different than the south polar area which is a large continental mass surrounded by ocean. The north polar ice cap melts back each summer to allow for some boat travel in its frigid waters.

I spent several summers in the Arctic. The summer of 1985 I spent in Alaska and saw some wonderful glaciers, grizzly bears and many humpback whales. During August of 2003 I was lucky enough to travel to the high Arctic - above Norway to the Svalbard Islands. Our ice strengthened boat brought us to 80 degrees 45 minutes north in search of walruses and polar bears. Guided by Olle Melandar and Adam Rheborg (superb Swedish Arctic guides) we had a fantastic experience. The sun never set (every night had a midnight sun) and we saw incredible true Arctic areas of tundra, the north polar pack ice, walruses and polar bears while visiting one of the northernmost pieces of land on planet Earth. Thanks go to our captain and crew of the Origo (our ice strengthened boat) and our knowledgeable guides for keeping us safe and knowing just where to go each day. The images from both of these adventures illustrate this lesson.

North Polar Cap Ice, NOAA image The Arctic, Ocean of Ice

Terrestrial Life in the Arctic

Polar Bears

The Walrus

 Copyright and Credits
(Revised 6 August 2007)
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