Region, primarily made up of the frozen Arctic Ocean, that surrounds the North Pole. Land masses include islands and the northern parts of the European, Asian, and North American continents.
Area: 14.056 million sq. km (5.4 million sq. mi.), largely frozen ocean.
Geographic North Pole: Northern end of Earth's axis, located at about latitude 90°N.
Magnetic North Pole: Continues to shift and is located at approximately 82°N and 114°W in the Queen Elizabeth Islands of northern Canada.
Terrain: Central surface covered by a perennial drifting polar icepack that averages about 3 meters in thickness; the icepack is surrounded by open seas during the summer, but more than doubles in size during the winter and extends to the encircling landmasses.
Climate: Polar climate characterized by persistent cold and relatively narrow annual temperature ranges; winters characterized by continuous darkness, cold and stable weather conditions, and clear skies; summers characterized by continuous daylight, damp and foggy weather, and weak cyclones with rain or snow.
Regions: The Arctic is divided by the summer isotherm, a climatic boundary between regions with summer temperatures averaging 50°F (or 10°C)—the subarctic—and colder regions (the true Arctic).
Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Fram Basin –4,665 m. Highest point: sea level 0 m.