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If you had to pick an ocean to swim, you would not pick the Arctic, right? That’s because it’s the coldest ocean on Earth, and only the species adapted to its temperature are capable of living there.
 This body of water is the smallest and shallowest of the oceans, and it is in the northern hemisphere. Still, it is 1.5 times larger than the United States. The world “Arctic” comes from the name of the constellation Arktos, which in Greek means “bear.”

Regardless its unbearable cold temperatures, this territory has been inhabited for about 20,000 years by the Inuit and the Yupik, who have physical and physiological adaptations to living in these extreme conditions.

This ocean has an area of approximately 15,558,000 square kilometers and a total of 45,389 kilometers of coastline. It covers about 3.17 percent of Earth’s surface. Its waters touch the northern regions of Alaska, Canada, Norway, Iceland, Russia, and Greenland, and it surrounds several islands. Its area includes Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, the Beaufort Sea, the Chukchi Sea, the Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, the Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea, the White Sea, Hudson Strait, the Siberia Sea and others. It connects to the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and the Atlantic Ocean through the Greenland Sea and the Labrador Sea. Its southern boundary is the Arctic Circle, at parallel 66°33′ north.

In the Arctic, massive ice sheets of two or three meters thick float around freely, continually shifting due to winds and ocean currents. If these ice chunks collide, they form irregular lines of ice, known as pressure ridges, which can be three times as thick as the individual pieces.

In winter, the temperature fluctuates between -50°C and -1.1°C.

Properties of the Arctic Ocean.

During the summer, the ice caps are surrounded by the ocean, but in the winter they double in size. The Arctic climate is described as polar, characterized by a perennial cold. The islands have a permafrost layer, in other words, a layer of ice on the soil’s surface. Other land regions like Alaska have a tundra biome.

In the winter, the sun is conspicuously absent, the sky is clear, and weather conditions are stable, but summer has permanent sun and humid environments, occasionally pounded by cyclones and snowstorms. In winter, the temperature fluctuates between -50°C and -1.1°C and in summer, the temperature can be up to 10°C. This ocean has the lowest salinity of any ocean due to low evaporation rates and freshwater inflows.

Properties of the Arctic Ocean

The ocean floor has three main underwater ridges:


1. The Nansen-Gakkel ridge, which extends north of western Russia
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2. The Alfa mountain ridge, a plane range with peaks of about 3,000 meters.

3. The Lomonosov Ridge, a mountain range between 3,000 to 3,700 meters high.

It is also divided into three large bodies of water, depending on the depth:

1. Arctic Deep Water, the deepest part, beginning at about 900 meters below the surface

2. Atlantic Water, found between 150-900 meters deep and having the same level of salinity as the Arctic Deep Water but warmer.

3. Arctic Surface Water, above 150-200 meters deep and is a subsurface layer with swift currents.

Economic Importance of the Arctic Ocean
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The cold conditions do not deter the proliferation of several species there. Narwhals, walruses, belugas, seals, bowhead whales, and Lion’s Mane Jellyfishes, which grow up 2.4 meters long, inhabit the waters of this ocean. Plankton, algae, various fish species, and polar bears also live in this environment.

In the ground, there are vast deposits of oil, natural gas, and metals, which are essential resources for various countries. Its waters are navigable taking the proper care to avoid icebergs; between March and April, ice covers a large part of the ocean. This challenge has become more important as some tests indicate that it could hold more than 25 percent of the undiscovered deposits of oil and gas.

This ocean is also a maritime link between the east and western Russia and North America. However, the center of this ocean is disputed between Norway, Denmark, United States, Canada, and Russia.

Economic Importance of the Arctic Ocean.

Conservation of the Arctic Ocean.

This ocean is evidently affected by climate change as due to the rising of global temperatures, the ice layer gradually thins. The thaw could cause serious flooding in the future, burying some countries under water, pollute some territories because its high concentration of radioactive contaminants, and alter the direction of ocean currents which could cause severe weather disruptions.

Along with the above, animal species would also be affected. Some researchers think that by the year 2040, the Arctic could be entirely melted because the ice pack of this ocean shrinks by eight percent each year.

 

Quick Facts.

– It is the smallest ocean.
– The Arctic Ocean is the only home of polar bears.
– Its deepest point is the Fram Basin, which has a depth of 4,665 meters.
– It is five times larger than the Mediterranean Sea.
– During summer, its ice shrinks by 50 percent.

Hail

What Is Hail?

 

Hail is something that occurs in most parts of the world. This does cause a lot of damage at times and it can be very troublesome also but what is hail?  Hail is a variety of differently shaped ice balls or lumps. These are mostly referred to hailstones and in most occasions, are not harmful but in some instances, they can be very dangerous.

Hail or hailstones are made up of water ice and can be any size; it can be measured anything from five millimetres and two hundred millimetres. Though, most hail are produced during thunderstorms and heavy rains and aren’t worrying.

How Is Hail Created?

Hail can be created with strong and upward motions of air but a lower freeze level.  Some formations might gather more pressure and create larger balls or lumps of ice water.  In some instances, the hail forms inside the interiors of continents but in climates with higher temperatures such as in the tropics, the formation stays at a high elevation level.

Hail and hailstorms can be created in any continent and can occur in any country around the world, even the countries which have good weather. If this happens, they could be very dangerous when they come down in a rain shower. Though, if they aren’t large, it shouldn’t be anything more than a normal rain shower.

However, many scientists can predict when thunderstorms are going to happen and can detect hailstorms and hail occurring. This can be done through weather radar imagery and satellites used especially for predicting weather and weather changes. When the hail is created and are larger than normal or average size, then they will fall at greater speeds. However, things such as friction with wind and air; and melting and the hail’s interaction with other hailstones and rain can slow down the speeds.

Hail facts and information
Dangerous road during a hail storm in Greece

Understanding Hail and How It Is Formed

Hail is basically caused during thunderstorms and if hail actually reaches the human population, it is known as hailstorms. However, their size can vary as can its weight because it can be anything up to one pound and over. The worst part of hail is that they have layers and layers of ice water clamped and stuck together and it can be an odd looking size also.

This is basically ice on top of ice; thick layers of ice could be the size of a golf ball or larger.  If the formation is over a certain size then it can cause serious damage to property and human life.  Hailstones can actually be very small and sometimes undetectable but they can be very large in size also and that does mean added weight. The size can vary in terms of how strong the updraft is; and if the hailstorms are weaker then smaller hailstones are going to be formed. Larger or stronger hailstorms are classed as super cells.

The hail is formed in stronger thunderstorm clouds when there is an intense updraft; and the high liquid water content increases. If the cloud is well below freezing then the ice water can be formed. If the air temperature is very cold, more formations of hail will be created.

The Damage That Can Be Inflicted?

Some hailstone sizes can range from pea sized to as big as a nickel.  However, the hailstones can actually cause a lot of damage especially to cars and vehicles, aircrafts, buildings, crops and livestock animals also. More often than not, it is the roofs which take full effects of the hailstorm damage and can cause cracks in buildings and leaks in the roof also.

Most roofs that are made from metal can be resistant to damage from the hailstorms.  However, aircrafts such as planes and helicopters are going to feel most effects of hail damage especially whilst flying.  In fact they can be highly hazardous to aircrafts because the hailstorms can cause a severe amount of damage to aircrafts within only a few moments.

Even on the ground, hailstorms and hail balls are very troublesome to drivers of vehicles because they can reign down on vehicles and cause a lot of damage to roofs, hoods and even come crashing through sunroofs.  Windshields are often the target of hailstones and can crack or shatter them completely. Though, it is not just the vehicles or aircrafts which can be effected by hailstones.  Crops can be damaged also by hailstones.

Hail and hailstorms can cause:

  • Electricity or power cuts and black outs.
  • Injury to humans and animals
  • Cause damage to vehicles and aircrafts
Hail or hailstone facts
Hailstones from an Austrian region.

Accumulation of Hail

The accumulation of hail can be caused because of narrow zone in which the hail forms.  This is on the ground working alongside a thunderstorm and its various activities; this can be called streaks.  However, the accumulation can actually be detected via a satellite but the actual storms do not last for a lengthy period of time.

They last for a good 10-15 minutes and if they reign over land at this time, they will cover the ground and can knock out electricity also.  There have been many instances in which thousands of homes and residents have been left without power.  Hailstorms can also create flash flooding, bring down trees and cause mudslides to happen also.

There are a number of things which could happen when hail builds up and a hailstorm arrives, however, on most occasions, it won’t be anything too serious. However, there can be a lot of things which can occur from hail including flooding due to drains becoming blocked and a build up of hail can turn into something more serious and start flooding populated areas.  It might not always be like this because some floods will not be as bad as some others but again, it will all depend on how furious the hail has become and whether or not, there is a long hail storm.

Conclusion

Throughout the years, there have been many who have been effected by hailstorms.  In some instances, they have even caused fatalities and serious injuries however; many have tried to suppress hailstorms. This is not really possible to do because even though many scientists believe they can predict a weather change, they cannot actually stop a hailstorm from coming.  No one can suppress or prevent a hailstorm approaching and can only take cover in doors when they come.

Of course, some, if not, large percentage of all hailstorms, are not going to cause a lot of damage or be that great in size or weight.  If so, there shouldn’t be any real damage to anyone or anything either.  However, there are some instances where there are going to be a lot of damage.  Hailstorms and hail balls can vary in size and weight.

Hail is a natural disaster and it can prove fatal also.  Many do not believe this or even think about this but it is possible; and that is why it is always wise to be indoors when it a hail storm brews.  In most cases, it will come to nothing but there are going to be some cases in which the hail becomes deadly. Taking shelter when it forms, will be a good idea.

 

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