The Arctic Ocean, explained
The Arctic Ocean may be the world's smallest, but it's becoming a critical region as climate change warms it more quickly than anywhere else on Earth.
The Arctic Ocean is Earth's northernmost body of water. It encircles the Arctic, and flows beneath it. Most of the Arctic Ocean is covered by ice throughout the year—although that is starting to change as temperatures climb. Pale and stark on the surface, the Arctic Ocean is home to a stunning array of life.
Though it's the world's smallest ocean—spanning 6.1 million square miles—the Arctic is now receiving unprecedented international attention. Scientists are racing to understand how warming temperatures will alter Arctic Ocean waters—and by extension the rest of the climate—and world leaders are racing to control newly opening waters.
The Arctic Ocean is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth and feeling the onslaught of climate change.