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Arctic Ocean

From Openwaterpedia
Locations of the Ice Sevens swims around the world, including the Arctic Ocean, governed and ratified by the International Ice Swimming Association

noun - The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. Alternatively, the Arctic Ocean can be seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean.

Almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, the Arctic Ocean is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year (and almost completely in winter). The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy fresh water inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities. The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years.

Ice Sevens[edit]

The Ice Sevens is the ice swimming equivalent of the Oceans Seven. To achieve the Ice Sevens, a swimmer must complete an Ice Mile in an open body of water under standard ice swimming rules (i.e., no wetsuit and no neoprene hat) in the following locations, ratified by the International Ice Swimming Association:

o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Europe
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Oceania
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Asia
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in North America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Africa
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in South America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any Polar location at 60º south or below or 70º north or above
o One of the seven Ice Miles must be a documented Zero Ice Mile (defined as a solo mile swim performed at below 1ºC).

North Pole Swimming[edit]

In July 2007 Lewis Pugh undertook the first open water swim at the Geographic North Pole. The 1 km (0.62 mile) swim, across an open patch of sea, in minus -1.7 °C water, took 18 minutes 50 seconds to complete. Jørgen Amundsen, the great grand nephew of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, paced Pugh by skiing alongside him during the swim.

The swim coincided with the lowest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded. Pugh disagrees with recent modeling, which predicts that the Arctic will be ice free in the summer by 2080.

In his autobiography Pugh wrote, "Ironically, global warming played no small part in undermining the entire expedition. We believed that the greater melting of summer ice would open up large areas of sea and allow us to paddle north at good speed. What we did not fully appreciate was that to the north of us there was a widespread melting of sea ice off the coast of Alaska and the New Siberian Islands and the ice was being pushed south towards us ... The evidence of climate change was stark. Fourteen months before I'd sailed north and I'd seen a preponderance of multi-year ice about three metres thick north of Spitsbergen, but this time most of the ice was just a metre thick."

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