The Arctic Ocean is one of the 5 major oceans in the world. It is the smallest and shallowest ocean of all.

The Arctic Ocean is near the North Pole. It’s the ocean that is most to the north in an area called the Arctic Circle (an imaginary circle around the top of the globe).

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The name ‘Arctic’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘near the bear’.

6 countries border the Arctic Ocean: Norway, Russia, Iceland, Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

Unlike other oceans, the Arctic Ocean is the least salty ocean of all. During the winter months, the Arctic is covered in ice and huge icebergs. Icebergs do not contain any salt so when they melt in the summer they release fresh water into the ocean. This helps make the ocean less salty. 

Size: the Arctic Ocean covers only 3% of the Earth’s surface. It measures 14.06 million square kilometres.

Temperature: the Arctic Ocean is the coldest ocean of all. Temperatures range from -30°C to -35°C. In summer the temperature is 0ºC because of the melting ice.

Depth: the Arctic Ocean is the shallowest ocean in the world with an average depth of 3,406 feet (1,038 m).


Who lives in the Arctic Ocean?

The Arctic Ocean is home to animals like walruses, polar bears, seals and jellyfish, including the lion’s mane jellyfish that can grow up to 8 ft long! The rare narwhal, often called the ‘unicorn of the sea’ can only be found in the Arctic Ocean. You can also find four different types of whales in the Arctic waters: The blue whale, humpback whale, fin whale and killer whale.

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Did you know?

  • There are more species of fish in the Arctic Ocean than anywhere else in the world.
  • 10% of the world’s fresh water is stored in ice around the Arctic region.
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic was near -70ºC. 
  • The deepest point in the Arctic is 17,880ft (5,450m) deep at ‘Litke Deep’ in the Eurasian Basin.