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The Arctic

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The Arctic

Realm of polar bears and northern lights, the Canadian Arctic with its majestic land- and seascapes cover a vast region of 1.4 million km2.  

Countless islands 

Inhabited 30,000 years ago by mammoth hunters, the Arctic is an ice-covered ocean dotted with islands and exposed to an extremely harsh climate. This region bordering the North Pole is divided among Norway, Russia, Denmark, the United States and Canada. The enormous Canadian Arctic alone includes an archipelago containing 36,563 islands, including three of the world’s ten largest. 

Polar wildlife

The Arctic teems with life. Its waters are home to minuscule krill as well as gigantic blue whales, along with many other species of whales and marine mammals. On land, mammals such as the polar bear, the muskox, the Arctic fox and the lemming are superbly adapted to polar conditions. The snowy owl and the gyrfalcon are among the bird species frequently found in the Arctic.   

Soil frozen year-round

Low temperatures considerably reduce the growing season for plants. The permanently frozen soil (permafrost) prevents roots from reaching deep underground, hence the absence of trees. However, life still manages to thrive in the harsh tundra environment, where herbaceous plants, flowers, lichen and moss grow freely.   

An ecosystem at risk

The Arctic region is especially vulnerable to climate change. Its plays a key role in balancing the Earth’s climate, and the health of its ecosystem can be considered a barometer for the entire world. After remaining unchanged for over three million years, the polar ice cap has lost 40% of its thickness in the last 50 years. This evidence is just one indication of major ecological upheaval in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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