Arctic seas as defined by the Arctic Circle
Artificially coloured topographical map of the Arctic region
MODIS image of the Arctic
Arctic poppy in bloom within the Qausuittuq National Park on Bathurst Island
A snowy owl
Marine fossils in Canadian Arctic
Circumpolar coastal human population distribution c. 2009 (includes indigenous and non-indigenous).
Polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near the North Pole. USS Honolulu pictured.
Map of the Arctic region showing the Northeast Passage, the Northern Sea Route within it, and the Northwest Passage.
Long-range pollution pathways to the Arctic
Arctic sea ice coverage as of 2007 compared to 2005 and compared to 1979–2000 average
The shrinking Arctic: Parts of Norway inside the Arctic Circle has a temperate climate with the 1991-2020 normals, such as Skrova near Svolvær with mean annual temperature of 6 C, four months above 10°C and no month below 0 C.
Baffin Island, Canada
Uummannaq Island, Greenland
Nenets reindeer herders in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Kotzebue, Alaska
The white borderline of the Arctic Circle at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland
Murmansk on Russia's Kola Peninsula is the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle.

Polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

- Arctic

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Global map of the subarctic region
Subarctic vegetation in Canada (Larix laricina)
In Fennoscandia and northwestern Russia, oceanic influences soften winter temperatures; the lack of permafrost allow agriculture and infrastructure. Lenvik, Norway, at 69°N.

The subarctic zone is a region in the Northern Hemisphere immediately south of the true Arctic, north of humid continental regions and covering much of Alaska, Canada, Iceland, the north of Scandinavia, Siberia, and the Cairngorms.

Midnight sun

Natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the Sun remains visible at the local midnight.

Midnight sun at the North Cape on the island of Magerøya in Norway
Multiple exposure of the midnight sun on Lake Ozhogino in Yakutia, Russia
Summer night in the city of Pori on July 2, 2010
Map showing the dates of midnight sun at various latitudes (left) and the total number of nights.

When the midnight sun is seen in the Arctic, the Sun appears to move from left to right, but in Antarctica the equivalent apparent motion is from right to left.

Sea ice

Sea ice arises as seawater freezes.

Broken pieces of Arctic sea ice with a snow cover.
Hypothetical sea ice dynamics scenario showing some of the most common sea ice features.
Nilas in Baffin Bay
Distinction between 1st year sea ice (FY), 2nd year (SY), multiyear (MY) and old ice.
Satellite image of sea ice forming near St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea.
Seasonal variation and annual decrease of Arctic sea ice volume as estimated by measurement backed numerical modelling.
Volume of arctic sea ice over time using a polar coordinate system draw method (time goes counter clockwise; one cycle per year)
As ice melts, the liquid water collects in depressions on the surface and deepens them, forming these melt ponds in the Arctic. These fresh water ponds are separated from the salty sea below and around it, until breaks in the ice merge the two.
Rare phenomenon – the formation of ball ice. Stroomi Beach, Tallinn, Estonia.
Aerial view showing an expanse of drift ice offshore Labrador (Eastern Canada) displaying floes of various sizes loosely packed, with open water in several networks of leads. (Scale not available.)
Aerial view showing an expanse of drift ice in southeastern Greenland, comprising loosely packed floes of various sizes, with a lead developing in the centre.(Scale not available.)
Aerial view showing an expanse of drift ice consisting mostly of water. (Scale not available.)
Close-up view inside a drift ice zone: several small rounded floes are separated from each other by slush or grease ice. (Bird at lower right for scale.)
Example of hummocky ice: an accumulation of ice blocks, here about {{convert|20|to|30|cm|abbr=on}} in thickness (with a thin snow cover).
Field example of a pressure ridge. Only the sail (the part of the ridge above the ice surface) is shown in this photograph – the keel is more difficult to document.
Aerial view of the Chukchi Sea between Chukotka and Alaska, displaying a pattern of leads. Much of the open water inside those leads is already covered by new ice (indicated by a slightly lighter blue color)(scale not available).
Change in extent of the Arctic Sea ice between April and August, in 2013.
Sea ice off Baffin Island.
Sea ice imitates the shoreline along the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Clear view of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Larsen Ice Shelf and the sea ice-covered waters around the region.

(In some sources, old ice is more than 2-years old.) Multi-year ice is much more common in the Arctic than it is in the Antarctic.

Danish Realm

Sovereign state located in Northern Europe and Northern America.

Comparison map: Greenland, the Faroe Islands (enlarged) and Denmark differ significantly in size. The Danish Realm is spread far apart, across the North Atlantic Ocean and North Sea.
Tinganes, in the capital Tórshavn, is the location of the Faroese Home Government.

Denmark is situated in Northern Europe and is flat and arable, the Faroe Islands in the Northern Atlantic and is rugged with cliffs along the coast, while Greenland is in the North Atlantic and Arctic, and is 79% covered in ice.

Northern Hemisphere

Half of Earth that is north of the Equator.

Northern Hemisphere shaded blue. The hemispheres appear unequal here because Antarctica is not shown.
Northern Hemisphere from above the North Pole
Northern hemisphere glaciation during the last ice ages. The setup of 3 to 4 kilometer thick ice sheets caused a sea level lowering of about 120 m.
Canadian Rockies in North America

The Arctic is a region around the North Pole (90° latitude).


Hoofed mammal of the family Bovidae.

Euceratherium skeleton (missing its ribs)
Bootherium skull
This skull, in the collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, displays the muskox's large horns.
Fossil Ovibos moschatus skull from prehistoric Siberia
Muskox at Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska
Muskox family in east Greenland
Nunivak Island, Alaskan muskoxen in the 1930s, shown here in defensive formation
Muskox in Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, Norway
Muskox on Bolshoy Begichev Island, Russia

Native to the Arctic, it is noted for its thick coat and for the strong odor emitted by males during the seasonal rut, from which its name derives.


Skull of a reindeer
A reindeer losing the velvet layer under which a new antler is growing, an annual process
Skull of a reindeer
A Swedish reindeer
The size of the antlers plays a significant role in establishing the hierarchy in the herd.
A Swedish reindeer walking
A reindeer in Suomussalmi, Finland
Two caribou licking salt from a roadway in British Columbia
A reindeer herd standing on snow to avoid bloodsucking insects
Reindeer pulling a sled in Russia
An early 20th century Inuit parka made of caribou skin
A reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia, late 19th-century photochrom
Milking reindeer in Western Finnmark, Norway in the 19th century
The tragelaphus or deer-goat
Two Scottish reindeer relax after pulling Santa's sleigh at the switching on of Christmas lights
A reindeer in the coats of arms of Kuusamo
Crossing frozen water
Drawing a waggon
Drawing a one-man sled
Reindeer-mounted cavalry

The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of Northern Europe, Siberia, and North America.

Arctic fox

A sleeping Arctic fox with its fluffy tail wrapped around itself and over its face
Pups of Arctic fox with summer morph
An Arctic fox (summer morph) with salmon
Arctic fox lying in grass. A fox's thick winter coat helps keep its body temperature near 100 F. Foxes also have fur on the soles of their feet and reduced blood flow to their legs to help keep them warm.
Blue phase, Pribilof Islands
The Arctic fox's seasonal furs, summer (top), "blue" (middle), and winter (bottom)
Drawing of skull by St. George Mivart, 1890
Arctic fox in winter pelage, Iceland
Arctic fox

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome.

Snowy owl

Large, white owl of the true owl family.

The engraving Snowy Owl, Plate 121 of The Birds of America by John James Audubon. Male (top) and female (bottom).
A captive adult male.
A captive adult female.
Young owl on the tundra at Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Snowy owls lose their black feathers with age, although individual females may retain some
Snowy owls have powerful feet that are heavily covered with feathering.
Male snowy owls such as this are particularly distinctive due to the extensive whiteness.
Juvenile snowy owl, about 12 weeks old
Bobby Tulloch, the Shetland RSPB warden, at the site of the snowy owl nest on the island of Fetlar, Shetland, in August 1967
Wing structure
Snowy owls often seek out grassy and open habitats year around.
Juvenile owls do not mind associating with one another, especially during winter.
Snowy owls are often somewhat ponderous in movements but can be surprisingly and suddenly fast on the wing.
Snowy owls are usually awake, aware and not infrequently active during daytime.
A snowy owl engaging in the "sweep" hunting method.
A snowy owl flying with an unidentified prey item in winter.
Lemmings such as Norway lemmings are the primary prey of breeding snowy owls.
Snowy owl carries its kill, an American black duck, Biddeford Pool, Maine
An early illustration showing snowy owl predation upon a gyrfalcon.
Snowy owls often seek out polygons such as these in the tundra.
An illustration of 8 European owl species' eggs, with the snowy owl in the middle of the right row. Note the much larger egg of the Eurasian eagle-owl at bottom.
A captive mother snowy owl with its chick.
An old photo of snowy owl nestlings on Baffin Island.
Snowy owl, juvenile, in Ontario, Canada.
A potential high risk of electrocution exists for snowy owls in winter.

Snowy owls are native to the Arctic regions of both North America and the Palearctic, breeding mostly on the tundra.


Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae.

Plithocyon armagnacensis skull, a member of the extinct subfamily Hemicyoninae from the Miocene
Life restoration of Arctotherium bonariense
Fossil of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), a relative of the brown bear and polar bear from the Pleistocene epoch in Europe
Unlike most other carnivorans, bears have plantigrade feet. Drawing by Richard Owen, 1866.
Despite being quadrupeds, bears can stand and sit as humans do.
Brown bear skull
The spectacled bear is the only species found in South America.
The brown bear photographed near the Russian border in the forests of Kainuu, Finland.
American black bear tracks at Superior National Forest, Minnesota, U.S.
Giant panda feeding on bamboo at Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D. C. This species is almost entirely herbivorous.
Brown bear feeding on infrequent, but predictable, salmon migrations in Alaska
Polar bear feeding on a seal on an ice floe north of Svalbard, Norway. It is the most carnivorous species.
Captive Asian black bears during an aggressive encounter
Sloth bear rubbing against a tree at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, India
American black bears mating at the North American Bear Center
Hunters with shot bear, Sweden, early 20th century. This photograph is in the Nordic Museum.
Bear warning sign in Alberta, Canada
Juvenile pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
The Dancing Bear by William Frederick Witherington, 1822
A nomadic ursar, a Romani bear-busker. Drawing by Theodor Aman, 1888
"The Three Bears", Arthur Rackham's illustration to English Fairy Tales, by Flora Annie Steel, 1918
The constellation of Ursa Major as depicted in Urania's Mirror, c. 1825

Bear taxon names such as Arctoidea and Helarctos come from the ancient Greek ἄρκτος (arktos), meaning bear, as do the names "arctic" and "antarctic", via the name of the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", prominent in the northern sky.