The smallest ocean in the world is the Arctic Ocean. It has very complex and sometimes disputed borders, but it surrounded by Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States. The Bering Strait separates the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Greenland and Labrador Seas separate the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean in the east. The Arctic Ocean is approximately one and half times the size of the United States and is covered in varying thicknesses of snow and ice for much of the year.
The Arctic Ocean is being monitored very closely for the effects of climate change. The decreasing size of the Arctic ice pack is affecting the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity). The ice cap serves to deflect the sun’s rays back out to space, stopping the absorption of excess heat from the sun. Without this layer of ice, the ocean absorbs this heat, further melting the ice pack and introducing fresh water into the system, disturbing both ocean currents and ocean salinity.
A number of animals call the Arctic Ocean their home including the endangered walruses and whales. Of the whale species found in the Arctic Ocean, the Beluga, Bowhead, and Grey are endangered or threatened.
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