The Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean

Video. Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala reviews general facts about the Arctic Ocean.


3 - 12+


Biology, Earth Science, Oceanography, Geography, Physical Geography

If you had to draw the boundaries of the Earth's oceans on a map, would you be able to? The answer is no—because there is really only one "world ocean." Oceanographers have divided the world ocean into four principal areas, or basins: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Ocean basins. The Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Ocean basins merge into icy waters around Antarctica. Some oceanographers define this as a fifth ocean, usually called the Antarctic or Southern Ocean basin.

This video focuses on the Arctic Ocean basin and is taken from the interactive online game, My Ocean. Test your ocean knowledge and learn about the different basins of the world ocean by playing here.

Fast Fact

  • One of the world's largest known deep-water coral complexes is found off the coast of Norway, inside the Arctic Circle. Approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) wide, the Røst Reef is made up of Lophelia coral.

Fast Fact

  • The lion's mane jellyfish is found in the Arctic Ocean. This jellyfish grows up to 2.4 meters (eight feet) across and dines on plankton and fish.

Fast Fact

  • Rising global temperatures are causing the Arctic Ocean's ice cover to shrink by an average of 8 percent every ten years.

Fast Fact

  • The Arctic Ocean is the smallest, shallowest, and coldest part of the ocean.

Fast Fact

  • The Arctic region contains a point known as the North Pole. During the summer, the North Pole has 24 hours of daylight. During the winter, the North Pole has 24 hours of darkness. This continuous sunlight or darkness is due to the Earth's tilt as it orbits around the sun.
Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Marshall Daly, National Geographic Society
Mary Ford, National Geographic Society

Narrator: Enric Sala
Audiovisual: Steven Pickard
Scripts/Support: John Grotland, Barrett Worthington

Last Updated

July 12, 2023

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Related Resources

National Science Foundation