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8 Facts About the Arctic Ocean

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The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans.

An ocean is a body of saline water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere.

Russian Ship Sinks in Arctic Ocean by GlobalLeaks News

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The International Hydrographic Organization recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans with a total area of about 106,460,000 square kilometres, slightly more than half that of the Pacific Ocean.

An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.

Scuba Diving in the Arctic Ocean by Finding True North

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Alternatively, the Arctic Ocean can be seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean.

The World Ocean or global ocean is the interconnected system of Earth's oceanic waters, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering almost 72% of Earth's surface, with a total volume of 1.332 billion cubic kilometers.

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Located mostly in the Arctic north polar region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Ocean is almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America.

The polar regions of Earth, also known as Earth's frigid zones, are the regions of Earth surrounding its geographical poles.

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere.

Eurasia is the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia.

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It is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year and almost completely in winter.

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate climates, between autumn and spring.

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The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy fresh water inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities.

Fresh water is naturally occurring water on Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, icebergs, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams.

Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs from the surface of a liquid into a gaseous phase that is not saturated with the evaporating substance.

Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water.

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The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%.

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The US National Snow and Ice Data Center uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC, is a United States information and referral center in support of polar and cryospheric research.

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