5 Mar 2016

15 Differences between Arctic and Antarctic Ocean

arctic and atlantic difference

The polar oceans of the Arctic and the Antarctic are similar in many ways. But there are some major differences between these two oceans. They look similar in frozen ice and vast lands with no traces of humanity. But if we go deeper than we can find these dissimilarities between the two:

Area:  Southern or Antarctic Ocean is larger than the Northern or Arctic Ocean. The size of the Antarctic is about 20.33 million km² while the Arctic covers 14.06 million sq km. In fact, Arctic Ocean is the smallest among all five oceans. Both of these oceans are way smaller than the larger three oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian.


Geography: the Arctic and Antarctic Ocean is geographically different. While the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by the continents of Asia, Europe and North America, Antarctic Ocean itself surrounds the continent of Antarctica. The Arctic is mostly landlocked but the Antarctic is an open ocean.


Melting Cycle: The ice of the Arctic Ocean follows a melting cycle. During the winter, most part of the surface of the ocean becomes frozen solid. When the summer time comes, the ice begins to melt and the open water area of the ocean begins to increase.

But there is no such vast melting cycle observed in the Antarctic Ocean. There is, indeed, some change in freezing pattern due to the seasonal changes, but the effect is minimal. But recent studies show that the ice of the Antarctic is melting rapidly due to the global warming.

Ice covered antarctic ocean
Human Contact: The Arctic Ocean is touched by three continents. Though the areas near the ocean are scarcely populated due to the extreme cold and harsh weather, there is some human population from thousands of years near the shores. Some, indigenous people explores its waters for thousands of years to haunt for food. 

There are almost 4 million people who lived in the Arctic region.  There are many indigenous people who live there for thousands of areas. Some of these tribes are Inuit, Yupik, Saami, etc.

For the most part of the human history, the Antarctic region never saw a human being. It is situated way south from the regions of the world where most people lives. Even today there is no human settlement there saving some research stations with handful scientists.


Temperature: We know that both the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans are very cold regions. But if we compare the temperature between the two oceans water and nearby lands, it can be observed that the Antarctic region is cooler than the Arctic. The summer temperature of the Arctic region melts a large portion of the frozen parts of the sea.


Ice: A large portion of the Arctic and the Antarctic Ocean is covered by ice throughout the year. The region near the North Pole and the South Pole remains frozen for ever. But the difference between the two regions regarding ice is its amount and density. The Antarctic regions have way more ice stored than the Arctic.


Polar Vortex: The Polar Regions are known for massive cyclones named polar vortex. These vortexes are created due to the rotation of the earth and extremely low temperature around these regions. The Antarctic vortex is stronger than the Arctic Vortex.


Land Ownership: One of the major differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic is the ownership of the land and adjacent seas. The water and the islands of the Arctic are controlled by many powerful nations. Most of the areas are under the territory of Russia, USA controls some of the ocean from Alaska, and Denmark has its control from Greenland. There is also Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland seeking their rights over the ocean. Japan is also another contest to control the Arctic regions near the East Pacific Ocean.
The Southern Ocean was not controlled by any state in human history. The ocean and the continent of Antarctica is a no man’s land which is jointly controlled by an international committee of nations of the world.


Minerals:  The Antarctic area has some large mineral deposits which are yet to be explored. The Arctic region has not much solid minerals but known for its immense storage of petroleum and natural gas. In fact, the petroleum storage of the region is so big that it can overshadow all other petroleum exporting regions of the world.


Animals: The Northern Ocean region has big polar bears. These animals cannot be seen in the Antarctic region.  On the contrary, the penguins can only be found in the Antarctic region. They are not available in any other regions of the world.

Magnetic Polar Movements:  The magnetic poles of the earth are situated near the geographical poles. But these poles are not fixed. Both of the magnetic poles change their positions. But the movement of the Magnetic pole near the Arctic region is much faster than the Southern region. The northern one moves at a speed of 55-60 km every year, while its southern counterpart moves only 10-15 km each year. Although, conventionally which is known as earth’s magnetic north pole is actually its magnetic south pole and vice versa.


Ozone Hole: The ozone gas forms a layer around the atmosphere of the earth. It protects the earth from the dangerous radioactive effects of the ultra violate radiations from sun. There is an ozone hole just above the Antarctic region where there is no layer of ozone exists. There is no such hole yet above the Arctic Ocean, though the ozone layer here is also too thin.


Rains and Snowfalls: During the summertime the temperature of the Arctic region increases considerably and the ice begins to melt. As a result, fog and cloud covers form around the region. Frequent rainfalls and snow falls can be observed during the summer time.

The Antarctic region, on the other hand is actually a cold desert. There is scarcely any rainfall or snowfall observed throughout the area over the ocean. The snowfall which one can see here are nothing but snow particles picked up by the wind flows. 

Polar Bear
Polar Bear is endemic to the Arctic Region p


Rivers: The Arctic Ocean receives the water of many big and smaller rivers. Some major rivers like Ob, Lena, Yenisei, Mackenzie etc brings a lot of fresh water to the ocean
The Antarctic is the only ocean which is not connected with any river. There is only one continent in the region which has no river except some glaciers.


Economy: The Northern Ocean is economically more active than the Southern Ocean. The areas around the Arctic is known for oil explorations and fishing. There is not much economic activities can be observed in the Antarctic Ocean. There are some ships and boats come here for fishing. They catch mainly krill and Patagonian Tooth fishes.