Arctic is the name given to the region that lies around the North Pole . It includes the Arctic Ocean, thousands of islands and the northern part of the European, Asian and North American continents.
It is a strategic region from the political and military point of view. Some countries in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Canada, Russia and the United States, maintain military bases in the Arctic to protect their borders and trade routes. At the same time, scientists have been studying the animal and plant life of the region in order to discover ways of human survival in the Arctic.
The Arctic Territory is formed by the northern regions of Alaska, Canada , Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It also includes Greenland and most of Iceland.
South of the Arctic is a region that has an equally cold winter but warmer summers. It is an area commonly called subarctic . It is formed by all the areas to the north that register average temperatures below 10 ° C, during more than four months to the year. It includes areas of Central Asia and Siberia, the center of Alaska and Canada and parts of northern Europe.
Arctic Natural Resources have been used throughout history, especially their food sources. During the last period of the Ice Age in Europe, about 10,000 years ago, men were already hunting in the Arctic. The world’s best fishing area is on the edge of the region, especially on the shores of Greenland and Iceland.
Soil is slowly forming in the Arctic, basically because the rigorous cold and the abundant snow slow the process of decomposition of the rocks. Below the ground there is a permanently frozen layer, called permafrost (permanent frost, which means permanent freezing), which can reach depths of up to 300 m. The heat of spring only melts the ice from the ground.
Canada’s subarctic areas have deposits of radiative minerals, including thorium and uranium. Also in northern Canada and Russia are deposits of lead, iron, nickel and oil. Alaska has large oil reserves.
Norway, Sweden and Finland have iron ore mines, while Alaska, Canada and Russia operate gold and copper mines. In the arctic part of Russia there are also tin mines. The largest known natural deposits of cryolite, the mineral used for the manufacture of aluminum and glass, are in Greenland.
Low and marshy lowlands, lichens and shrubs cover most of the land in northern Russia, Siberia and Canada. Such areas are called tundra . Other common arctic plants are the grass, the carriço and flowers as the saxifragas. Similar snails and plants develop in pools alongside other types of moss.
They grow around 1,700 plant types in the Arctic and Subarctic. Among them are 900 varieties of flowers. During the summer, poppies and bells are born in the region.
The most common animals in the Arctic and Subarctic are the reindeer and the caribou. Large herds of these animals roam the arctic pastures. Also inhabiting the region are ermines, mink, sable (much sought after by hunters because of the high commercial value of their skins), bears, foxes, hares and squirrels.
Lemmings and gnats, small mice-like animals, compete with caribou and reindeer through the Arctic grass.
A single pair of lemmings or gnats can give birth to over a hundred pups in a year. Their number reaches an extreme point every three or four years. Such a cycle interferes with the population of other animals and even of men. Foxes and birds, like the snowy owl, feed on these little animals.
Winter temperatures are around minus 34 ° C in most of the Arctic, including the area around the North Pole.
The coldest climate is in northeastern Siberia, in the region around Verkhoyansk. The temperatures of January fall, on average, to 40 ° C negative, already reaching negative 69 ° C, probably the coldest already verified in the pole.
The other areas of Siberia and the sub-arctic sections of Central Asia, Canada and Central Alaska have on average temperatures of minus 29 ° C. The mildest winters are recorded in the coastal regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, where January temperatures are around 1 ° C negative. In these regions summers are milder, with July temperatures around 7 ° C.
The hottest summers occur in the Siberian countryside, in Alaska and Canada. In these regions the average temperatures are around 16 ° C. Meteorological bases have already recorded temperatures of 32 ° C in those regions.
In many Arctic regions, the rainfall index reaches 150 mm to 250 mm per year, which includes molten snow. This is lower than in some of the largest deserts in the world. Despite the low annual rainfall, Arctic lands may have a very humid subsoil because the moisture evaporates slowly and drainage conditions are precarious.
The population of the Arctic has diverse origins.
The basis of their diet is meat and fish. Most of the inhabitants of the Arctic shores live on fishing and hunting for seals and whales.
The Eskimos predominate among the Arctic peoples. Its villages spread from northeastern Greenland to the Siberian coast of the Bering Sea.
Americanoides . Several tribes in northeastern Siberia resemble both the Indians of the Pacific Northwest coast, in their physical characteristics, which scientists often call them Americanosides. Their way of life, however, brings them closer to the Eskimos. Such people still receive the denomination of Paleo-Siberians. Among the Americanid tribes are the chukchi, the koryak, and the kamchadais.
Mongolian peoples live in the north-central region of Siberia. The Yacuts occupy the region west of the Paleo-Siberians. They breed reindeer and dogs. Tungus live along tributaries of the Yenissei river and live from reindeer breeding and eventually fishing.
The Finns live in the Arctic sections of European Russia. They are relatives of modern Finns or Suomis. The Zirians are the largest of these groups. In the far north, they lead nomadic life as reindeer breeders.
The Lapps inhabit the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland. They have dedicated themselves to raising reindeer for at least a thousand years.