card
289

arctic

OLogy Series
place
card
289

arctic

OLogy Series
place

At the top of the world is a cold and icy area called the Arctic. It is made up of the Arctic Ocean and parts of North America, Asia, and Europe. Much of the ocean is frozen into sea ice, which forms and melts with the seasons. The barren land also freezes many months of the year. People and other animals have adapted to life in these harsh conditions. But rising temperatures and melting ice are creating new challenges for life in the Arctic.

Climate change is threatening the Arctic and its species, like polar bears and caribou. You can help protect the Arctic by:

turning off the lights when you're not around

riding bikes instead of driving

both of these

Are you right?

Correct!

Any time you use electricity or gasoline, you're burning fossil fuels--which scientists believe is a leading cause of global warming. Can you think of three other ways to help reduce energy use and protect the Arctic?

The Arctic is much colder than regions closer to the equator because:

it snows more in the Arctic

sunlight hitting the Arctic is less direct

places near the equator get 24 hours of sunlight

Are you right?

Correct!

In the Arctic, the Sun's rays are not as intense as they are near the equator because they hit the poles at a more slanted angle. That means that less solar energy reaches the Arctic.

Ice in the Arctic helps slow global warming.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

This ice helps fight global warming by reflecting some of the Sun's energy back into space. So the more ice melts, the faster the land and ocean in the Arctic warm up.

During the Arctic summer, the Sun never sets.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

During summer in northern hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted towards the Sun. Even as Earth rotates, the Sun shines all day and night. This area is called "Land of the Midnight Sun."

The Arctic is a desert.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The Arctic is considered a desert because it gets so little rain. There's so much snow because it's so cold and the snow that does fall doesn't get a chance to melt!

Definition: the region around the North Pole that includes the Arctic Ocean and parts of North America, Asia, and Europe
Description: Ocean of sea ice surrounded by cold, barren land
Inhabitants: people and other animals like polar bears, seals, sea birds, whales, caribou, Arctic fox
Arctic ice: Sea ice is ice that forms when sea water freezes; glaciers and ice caps are frozen fresh water.

Image credits: courtesy of NASA.