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Arctic sea ice by volume over time
Arctic sea ice by volume over time

Source: Polar Science Center, University of Washington

Bathymetric (underwater depth) map of the Arctic Ocean, showing the Lomonosov, Gakkel and Alpha ridges
Bathymetric (underwater depth) map of the Arctic Ocean, showing the Lomonosov, Gakkel and Alpha ridges

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Chart showing the dates of the Soviet and Russian Arctic drift research stations
Chart showing the dates of the Soviet and Russian Arctic drift research stations
Decreasing extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic
Decreasing extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Estimates of undiscovered oil and gas north of the Arctic Circle
Estimates of undiscovered oil and gas north of the Arctic Circle

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

International rights and claimable sovereignty in sea areas according to the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Treaty
International rights and claimable sovereignty in sea areas according to the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Treaty
Main Bathymetric features of the Arctic Ocean
Main Bathymetric features of the Arctic Ocean
Melting sea ice means access to ocean-floor resources and improved shipping routes, causing a "race for the Arctic."
Melting sea ice means access to ocean-floor resources and improved shipping routes, causing a "race for the Arctic."
New sea routes could be established as the Arctic ice melts.
New sea routes could be established as the Arctic ice melts.
Overlapping sovereignty claims in the Arctic have resulted in increased military presences there.
Overlapping sovereignty claims in the Arctic have resulted in increased military presences there.
Potential oil (orange) and gas (green) resources in the Arctic
Potential oil (orange) and gas (green) resources in the Arctic
The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle

Source: CIA World Fact Book

The claimable Arctic Ocean territory for each of the A-5 countries according to UNCLOS, before additional continental shelf claims.
The claimable Arctic Ocean territory for each of the A-5 countries according to UNCLOS, before additional continental shelf claims.

Note the waters around the North Pole are international. The darker blue area represents the waters Russia has petitioned for based on claims that the Lomonosov ridge is part of its continental shelf.

The decline of Arctic sea ice over the summer months from 2002-05 as compared to 1979-2000
The decline of Arctic sea ice over the summer months from 2002-05 as compared to 1979-2000

Source: Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory, and Walt Meier, NSIDC

The East Siberian Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean
The East Siberian Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean
The Great Northern Expedition of the 1730s and 1740s followed the Arctic coastline and proved the existence of a Northeast Passage.
The Great Northern Expedition of the 1730s and 1740s followed the Arctic coastline and proved the existence of a Northeast Passage.
The hashed area shows Russia's current claims in the Arctic Ocean.
The hashed area shows Russia's current claims in the Arctic Ocean.
The Kara Sea, north of Russia and south of the Arctic Ocean
The Kara Sea, north of Russia and south of the Arctic Ocean
The Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route (blue) as compared to a southern route (red), showing the tremendous savings in travel distance
The Northern Sea Route (blue) as compared to a southern route (red), showing the tremendous savings in travel distance
The sea ice area for the Arctic shows near-record minimums since 2002
The sea ice area for the Arctic shows near-record minimums since 2002

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration