The word "Arctic" originates from the Greek word for "bear." The Arctic area encompasses more than 18 million square miles. Neanderthal remains found in the Arctic have been carbon-dated to thousands of years after it is generally thought that the Neanderthals existed.
The ice in the Arctic Sea helps maintain the climate for the entire world, although the Arctic is not always covered by ice and snow. Plant life thrives during the summer months, when the area receives sunshine. For the rest of the year, the area is in a constant state of darkness. The Arctic Ocean is the shallowest of all oceans. It averages about 3,400 feet in depth, and there is a large continental shelf underneath it.
The Arctic is ruled by a coalition of eight nations that have land and people located within the Arctic circle. They are Russia, the United States, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Canada. The North Pole, despite its location, is not usually the coldest point in the Arctic. In fact, it takes only a small temperature increase at the North Pole to have a great effect on the climate. This is, in part, why the Arctic has such an influence on global climate.