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Arctic Ocean, The (8/8)

This is also part of this series: Oceans (8)

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Grade Level: JrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2008
Available in French: No

The Arctic Ocean may be the smallest and shallowest of the world’s great oceans, but it plays an unusually important role. Any changes here will have an enormous impact on the Earth’s oceans and on the planet’s climate. In one of the world’s most hostile environments, the team investigates how the Arctic is changing and the effect this may have on this ocean’s ecosystems and the rest of the world.

Paul Rose, Philippe Cousteau Jr, Dr Lucy Blue and Tooni Mahto venture within 600 miles of the North Pole to explore a great mass of drifting ice, a solid seascape that is essential to keeping the Arctic Ocean cold and which helps regulate ocean currents and weather around the globe. It is known that the health and thickness of ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing. The team dives under the ice and takes measurements on top of the ice floe. The results are sent to NASA to help them discover how fast it is changing.

The polar bear is not the only creature in the Arctic fighting for existence as a result of the retreating ice. The team dives below the frozen, solid ice sheet to collect samples of the tiny creatures living right under the ice. Their findings will contribute to a global census of life in our oceans and will help scientists discover whether life in the Arctic is coping with the changes in its ocean.

As the seas warm, not all life will be threatened in the short term. The Atlantic walrus looks as though initially it will be a global warming winner. To discover why, the team attempts to dive with one of the Arctic’s most iconic beasts. They are inquisitive creatures, but dangerous; they have been known to sink inflatable boats after lunging at them with their tusks.