What thoughts come to mind when you think of the Arctic?
Cold. Bare. Gray.
While the northernmost parts of our planet are cold, many of the other common beliefs about the region are often quite far from the facts.
It's true that many Arctic areas have very few or no inhabitants, but still about four million people call the Arctic home. While the Arctic is about three-times the size of Europe, Europe's population is 185-times greater than that of the Arctic - with 741 million inhabitants. According to the
The Arctic is actually home to a diverse population of plants. According to
There are actually four North Poles! 1.
Polar bears are not the only animals roaming the Arctic. Reindeer, Arctic fox, seals, walruses, whales, and numerous seabirds can be found in Arctic regions. In the Franz Josef Land nature preserve, which is part of the Russian Arctic National Park, polar bears, walrus, endangered bowhead whales, and other Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere, anytime in and around the archipelago.
The Arctic is in the Northern Hemisphere and experiences spring and summer conditions from late May through September. Temperatures can range from about 20°F (4°C) to as high as 70°F in the summer months. It is important to note that the Arctic acts as Earth's cooling system, and higher temperatures in the Arctic can lead to global climate shifts.
Yes, it is very cold in the Arctic - temperatures as low as -70° C or -94° F have been recorded in Arctic regions - but the coldest temperature every recorded on Earth was in Antarctica, not the Arctic. In 2010, temperatures in east Antarctica dipped to a frigid -94.7°C or -135.8°F.
Ice and snow. Ice and snow. Sounds a bit boring, right? Fortunately, that's not the case at all when it comes to views scenery. Icebergs take dramatic shapes on the multi-colored horizon, Northern Lights shine green and blue, and cold seas take on the most spectacular shades of blue. Traveling to the Arctic on a smaller vessel like Poseidon's Sea Spirit also allows up-close views of narrow fjords and protected bays, many of which have beautiful green and stone-colored coasts. On