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What is the Arctic and Antarctic? The border of the Arctic. The area of the Arctic. Geographical location of the Arctic

In this article we want to talk about what the Arctic is. Those who have long graduated from school, as a rule, just a few things can tell about it. Let's remember a bit about the geography course.

What is the Arctic and Antarctic?

Both these words mean parts of the globe located near the poles. Only one of these parts refers to the North Pole, and the other - to the South Pole. In general, no wonder and get confused in words. And all because the words are close in sound, and even the roots.

The words Arctic and Antarctic are of Greek origin, or rather, Ancient Greek. The basis of the word - the root "arctos" denotes a bear. Why is it a she-bear?

Most likely, it's about astronomy. After all, many constellations were called the names of the heroes of the ancient Greek myths: Centaurus, Orion, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Pegasus, Taurus, Cepheus. Including the Little Bear and the Great. So, it is in the constellation of the Little Bear that the North Star is located, which is almost above the North Pole. This star accurately indicates the northern direction in our hemisphere (northern).

Where did the names come from?

It is logical to assume that the name occurred as follows. Kohl the Polar Star is located in Malaya Medvedica, and the bear is an arctos, indicates the rule of the north, hence the Arctic. So it turns out that the Arctic is the north of the Earth.

But Antarctica received the name, based on the rules of Greek grammar, according to which the prefix "anti" has the opposite meaning. Here such there is an assumption concerning origin of names Arctic and Antarctic.


So what is the Arctic? This is the area of the Earth adjacent to the North Pole. It includes the outskirts of the continents of North America, Eurasia, almost the entire Arctic Ocean and islands, as well as some adjacent parts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. From the south the border of the Arctic is traditionally held along the Arctic Circle. It is 66 degrees and 33 minutes of northern latitude. In this case, we can say that the area of the Arctic is 21 million square kilometers.

The climatic conditions of the Arctic are slightly softer than the Antarctic, as ocean currents contribute to this.


Antarctica is the southern polar part of the globe that adjoins the South Pole and includes Antarctica and areas of the Indian, Atlantic, Pacific oceans. The climatic conditions of the Antarctic are more severe. Here live penguins.

Arctic Boundary

Where does the Arctic end or begin? The boundary of the Arctic is traditionally held, as we have already said, along the Northern Circle. However, often cold (arctic) conditions appear in much more southern regions. Then, taking into account these areas, the area of the Arctic reaches 27 million square kilometers. So, its border will also shift.

The Arctic zone is a very rich region, despite the harsh climatic conditions. Here are concentrated enormous reserves of minerals: silver, diamonds, gold, chromium, phosphorus and many others. The geographic location of the Arctic was conditioned by the fact that it belongs to the few parts of the world in which the reserves of hydrocarbon and mineral raw materials have remained untouched. In addition, the region is rich in oil and gas.

It should be noted that the southern border of the Arctic is traditionally held (coincides) along the southern border of the tundra.

In general, this is quite an interesting and vast region. And you can talk about where the border of the Arctic is long enough. Here, not everything is so simple.

Although this is an independent region, the boundary of the Arctic is conducted in different ways. We already mentioned one of the options. It is 66 degrees and 33 minutes of northern latitude. That is, the boundary of the Arctic is traditionally conducted along the Arctic Circle. North of this latitude is observed such an interesting phenomenon as the polar day and the polar night. And this means, in the given region in the summer the sun does not enter for a while at all, and in the winter the sun sometimes does not rise at all. Here is such an interesting feature.

From the point of view of climatic conditions, the boundary of the Arctic is conducted through the territory where the average July temperature does not exceed ten degrees. Interesting is the fact that this is also the limit of vegetation, as trees to the north practically do not survive.

The climatic and geographic boundary of the Arctic is traditionally held in different places. For example, Iceland is located much south of the Arctic Circle, and yet the July temperatures there do not exceed 10 degrees.

Arctic Land

The territory of the Arctic, or rather, its land, has an area of 14 million kilometers square. These lands consist of the extreme northern possessions of a number of states. This is Russia, Greenland, Canada, USA, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden.

The geographic location of the Arctic caused such an interesting situation. I must say that Canada and Russia own the largest part (80%), the USA - 4%, and the Scandinavian countries have left about sixteen percent. The third part of the region is the Arctic Ocean, which ishes the North Pole. Most of the year it is covered with ice.

Sometimes it is not very important how the Arctic border is traditionally held from the geographical point of view, if it is a question of the belonging of its separate parts to different countries. This territory can be divided into geographical regions: the RF zone, the zone of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Iceland and Fennoscandia.

In the Arctic of Russia belongs Kolguyev (island), Northern land, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Novosibirsk Islands, Wrangel Island, etc. In addition, the Russian Arctic zone belongs in part or in whole to the following territories: Republic of Sakha, Arkhangelsk region, Murmansk , The Chukotka District, the Yamal-Nenets, the Nenets and the Taimyr Peninsula.

What is the Arctic?

Speaking of what the Arctic is, I want to note that this is not only snow ice, as sometimes it is believed. In fact, the animal and plant world of this region is unique enough. The subarctic and the arctic desert are inhabited by at least 20,000 different species of plants, mushrooms, animals and microorganisms. Here, unique animals live and plants grow that are not found anywhere else on Earth. Even in such harsh conditions, national parks are created to protect nature. The climate of these latitudes is suitable for the habitation of some species of fauna and flora. So, for example, in the Arctic there are 25% of the species from the squad of salmonids, about 12% of lichens and 6% of mosses.

Naturally, the representatives of the flora and fauna are completely unevenly distributed over the natural zones. Insects, for example, living here, make up half the species diversity of the whole planet. Strangely enough, but the most enduring are the beetles and flies, which are able to withstand the temperature to minus sixty degrees. Bumblebees and mosquitoes of the Polar region pollinate local flowers, and in fact there are practically no bees. As you can see, the Arctic is not a lifeless region, as many believe.

In the view of people, a stereotype emerged that the Arctic border traditionally shares permafrost and the ordinary world, but in reality it is completely different. As you can see, life is even in severe climatic conditions.

The world of plants

For the vegetable world is characterized by a mixture of southern (Asian and American) plants, Arctic and relict. On the southern slopes of Chukotka there are steppe areas. Scientists suggest that once the whole of the Arctic was a continuous steppe (in the times of mammoths). The richest region in the Arctic is the shores of Chukotka and Wrangel Island. It is difficult to imagine, but forty species of animals and plants that live on the skeleton are found nowhere else on Earth.

Vegetation is represented by grasses, polar poppies, sedge, willow trees, lichens, dwarf birches, liverworts, mosses (here grows the famous yagel - reindeer moss). Chaun Bay on the coast of Chukotka in general is a unique place. There are thickets of sea cabbage and relics of past, warmer centuries.

Arctic plants are the basis for human and animal life in these parts. Risen, cloudberry, lichens and medicinal herbs are used for food. In Iceland, for example, for a long time they made flour and baked bread from an ordinary lichen (called Tsentariya). He is the leader in the content of trace elements, vitamins, polysaccharides, various acids. It also acts as an indicator of the purity of the environment.

Animal world

The description of the Arctic would be incomplete without mentioning the animal world. In these parts the most beautiful animal of the north lives - the reindeer, which is of the greatest importance in the life of small indigenous peoples. For nomads, the deer is a source of nutrition - it is milk, meat, skins, pants. All these products make it possible to adapt and live in very low temperatures. Venison is a very valuable product, enough one hundred grams of meat to provide people with vitamins and healthy substances for a whole day. In addition, venison saves from scurvy, avitaminosis, metabolic disorders and anemia.

People domesticated deer a thousand years ago, their breeding became a traditional occupation of the northern peoples. But the peoples of North America did not begin to domesticate the beast, they prefer to just hunt for caribou.

The largest number of reindeers resides in the Yamal-Nenets region, where thousands of animals are grazed.

Arctic musk ox

Even in the Arctic live musk oxen - the largest ungulates, they are kindred mammoths. Animals are remarkably adapted to life in harsh conditions. A warm long coat protects them from cold and wind, they are not particularly demanding on food. Musk oxen have long been listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Currently they live only on the peninsula of Taimyr and Wrangel Island. On the Canadian islands, their numbers are constantly growing. Before the beginning of the twentieth century, they lived in Alaska. Scientists suggest that animals could change their habitat due to global warming, they could not live in conditions of constant precipitation, which wool hair. To reduce the number of animals affected and hunters. In a natural habitat polar wolves present a serious danger, both for deer and musk oxen.

For indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic, the fur trade is traditional, because there are a lot of foxes, ermines, wolverines, polar wolves and Arctic foxes.

An important part of the food chain are rodents and hares. Hamsters lemmings eat a day and a half times more food than they weigh.

Bird world

In the Arctic, about half of the species of shore birds worldwide live, I must say that they are a solid component between marine and coastal systems. It is difficult to imagine the coast without "bird markets", the largest colonies of seagulls, fools, cormorants, sweepers, guillemots are here.

In the short summer months along the coast of the Arctic Ocean nests of 280 species of birds are built. Rare and common birds, growing their offspring fly to Africa, Europe, Antarctica, Asia. Taimyr, for example, has long been considered an important place for migration of waders and anseriform birds. In the Arctic, the largest population of white geese inhabits the island of Wrangel. And in Yakutia there live a white crane and Siberian Crane - some of the rarest species on earth.

Marine mammals

Symbols of the Arctic were marine animals. However, the uncontrolled activity of man led to the fact that some species were almost completely exterminated. The most important animal of the harsh land is the polar bear. In general, there are 19 populations, each of which consists of 22 thousand animals. Bears lead a semi-aquatic life, they breed on the shores of Chukotka, the Cape of Desire on the New Earth, the Land of Franz Josef. On Wrangel Island there are large coastal rookeries of walruses. This is the only safe place for them.

Hunting for a polar bear has officially been banned for a long time. But the residents of Greenland and Canada do not completely honor the ban, issuing licenses for hunting, because of which every year up to 350 individuals die.

In Alaska, too, a permit is issued every year to capture Minke whale and Greenland whale.

Instead of an afterword

Within the framework of the article, we talked about the coldest regions of the planet. As we see, it is not important where the boundary of the Arctic is drawn on a map, after all, there is still life, even in very low temperatures. Even in these parts there is an animal and plant world.

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