Beyond Brrr! 45 Photos of the Real North Pole and Arctic

December 23rd, 2011 Permalink

When most folks hear ‘North Pole,’ they tend to think of Santa Claus and his home. But it would be difficult to build a residence or workshop at the North Pole since it is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. You could, however, walk on water at the North Pole since it is surrounded by waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice about 2 to 3 m (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) thick. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean along with portions of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. NOAA describes the Arctic as “a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by tree-less, frozen ground, that teems with life, including organisms living in the ice, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals and human societies. Persistent warming and record-setting changes are occurring throughout the Arctic environment with resultant impacts on Arctic ecosystems.” Here’s a look beyond Polar Express or St. Nick at the real North Pole, the Arctic Circle, the Arctic and its brave explorers who dared to adventure in a land beyond brrrr! We hope you have a very happy holiday season! [45 Photos]

Arctic portal Eielson Air Force Base Alaska-—-The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights shines above Bear Lake

Arctic portal on the way to the North Pole has amazing auroras. These Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, shine above Eielson Air Force Base, Bear Lake, Alaska. USAF Photo #1 by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

Icebergs around Cape York, Greenland

Icebergs around Cape York, Greenland, which is considered part of the Arctic Circle even if it’s not quite the North Pole. The hole was caused by weathering effects – erosion by waves, wind and melting. Photo #2 by Mila Zinkova


Nenets people are indigenous people in Russia that live in the Arctic region. Think of what it would be like to open your door to spy a reindeer in the morning

This photo was taken near a town called Nes in the Nenets Autonomous District in Northwest Russia. Nenets people are indigenous people in Russia that live in the Arctic region. Think of what it would be like to open your door and see reindeer in the morning. Photo #3 by Julia Vishnevets via Windows to the Universe

Muskoxen Arctic mammal

A Muskoxen is an Arctic mammal believed to be a survivor or the Pleistocene period and to have migrated to North America between 200,000 and 90,000 years ago. Photo #4 by USFWS

Taste the freedom over the 81° parallel; the North Pole is just a hop away from here

Taste the freedom over the 81° parallel; the North Pole is just a hop away from here. Photo #5 by Tunde Pecsvari

Whale Bone Rib Arc and Skin Boat Frames at Barrow, Alaska located on the coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean

Whale Bone Rib Arc and Skin Boat Frames at Barrow, Alaska located on the coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean. Photo #6 by Donna Dewhurst

USS Providence Surfaced At The North Pole

USS Providence Surfaced At The North Pole. U.S. Navy Photo #7 by Yeoman 1st Class (SS) J. Thompson

Titled 'Global Warming at the North Pole'

Titled ‘Global Warming at the North Pole’. Photo #8 by Jeff Kubina

Arctic portal -- Humpback Whale breaching

Arctic portal — Humpback Whale breaching. Photo #9 by Whit Welles

Mush travel by dog sled at the North Pole

Mush! Explorers and adventurers often travel by dog sled near the North Pole. Photo #10 by Adam Grimes

Traveling by reindeer, Archangel, Russia. photomechanical 1890-1900

Old school or perhaps simply reality more than 110 years ago: Traveling by reindeer at Archangel, Russia. Image is photomechanical taken between 1890-1900. Photo #11 by Detroit Publishing Co. / Library of Congress

Building an Eskimo igloo 1924 North Pole region

Building an Eskimo igloo in 1924, real people setting up house in the North Pole region. Photo #12 by Frank Kleinschmidt via Library of Congress

Mosaic of the Arctic -- North Pole

Mosaic of the Arctic — North Pole. On June 30, 2011 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite made multiple passes over the Arctic, capturing a true-color image of the summer lands and sea-ice near the North Pole on each pass. Individual images were then pieced together to create a large mosaic of the area, which gives a broader, circumpolar, view that would not be possible with individual images. Photo #13 by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Broken glaciers of north pole

Broken glaciers as seen when flying above the North Pole. Photo #14 by { pranav }

Iceberg between Langø and Sanderson Hope, south of Upernavik, Greenland

Iceberg between Langø and Sanderson Hope, south of Upernavik, Greenland. Photo #15 by Hansen

Near the North Pole

Near the North Pole during Ben Saunders’ solo expedition. Photo #16 by Ben Saunders

Andree's Station at Danskoen, Spitzbergen, Norway photochrom

Andree’s Station at Danskoen, Spitzbergen, Norway. This photochrom color image was taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Photo #17 by Detroit Publishing via The Library of Congress

Arctic eclipse seen from space

View of a total solar eclipse on Earth above the Arctic as seen from NASA’s Terra satellite. It covered the Arctic Ocean, northern Norway, and northwest Russia. The affected area was dark for two minutes during the eclipse. Satellite path was nearly perpendicular to the eclipse. Photo #18 by NASA Terra satellite

Arctic dwellers, a Sami (Lapp) family in Norway around 1900

Brave Arctic dwellers during the summer; this photo of a Sami (Lapp) family in Norway was taken around 1900. Photo #19 by Detroit Publishing Co.

Arctic Seehund -- German seal

This cute fella is an Arctic Seehund — which is the German name for seal. Photo #20 by Marcel Burkhard

Arctic, Even the dogs thought it was cold 1949

1949 NOAA Arctic expedition. The caption stated, “Even the dogs thought it was cold.” NOAA At The Ends of the Earth Collection Photo #21 by Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren, NOAA Corp

Pribilof Island Oil Spill, Arctic Fox scavenges for carcasses

After the 1996 Pribilof Island Oil Spill, this Arctic fox was scavenging for carcasses. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo #22 by Art Sowls / Paul Flint

Whaling boat  on the coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean

Inupiat Eskimos: Whaling boat on the coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean. Photo #23 by Donna Dewhurst Collection

Polar Circle Norwegian coast winter

Polar Circle during winter as seen along the Norwegian coast. Photo #24 by Janter

1905 -- 82 N. Latitude, panorama shot during the unsuccessful Ziegler polar expedition

1905 — 82 N. Latitude, panorama shot during the unsuccessful Ziegler polar expedition of 1903-1905. Photo #25 by Anthony Fiala

April 1909 Peary Sledge Party and Flags at the North Pole

April 1909 Peary Sledge Party and Flags at the North Pole. Pictured are (left to right): Ooqueh, holding the Navy League flag; Ootah, holding the D.K.E. fraternity flag; Matthew Henson, holding the polar flag; Egingwah, holding the D.A.R. peace flag; and Seeglo, holding the Red Cross flag. Photo #26 by Robert Edwin Peary

Rainbow seen by Camera 2 over North Pole

Rainbow seen by NOAA’s Camera 2 over North Pole. Photo #27 by NOAA

Beaufort Sea Ice

Beaufort Sea Ice. This sea is located within the Arctic Ocean and is frozen over most of the year; it de-thaws only along the shoreline during August–September. Brr! Photo #28 by Chuck Young / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Aurora, Stars, Meteor, Lake, Alaska

NASA wrote of this aurora, “Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. In this case, a picturesque lake lies in front of you, beautiful green aurora flap high above you, brilliant stars shine far in the distance, and, for a brief moment, a bright meteor streaks by. This digitally fused breathtaking panorama was captured late last month across one of the Chena Lakes in North Pole, Alaska, USA, and includes the Pleiades open cluster of stars on the image right. The shot is unusual not only for the many wonders it has captured simultaneously, but because lakes this far north tend to freeze and become non-reflecting before a sky this dark can be photographed.” Photo #29 by © Bud Kuenzli / via NASA APOD

North Pole

This image shows the Arctic. The North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean is surrounded by Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia. The ocean is about 13,123 feet (4,000 meters) deep. Although it is an ocean, it is water you can walk on. There are 2-3 meter thick ice floes floating on the water at the North Pole. In summer the temperatures are near 0 centigrade and there is light. In winter the temperature is about -30 centigrade and it is dark. Photo #30 by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Panorama of the small settlement Naajaat in North-West Greenland. The Greenland ice sheet is seen to the upper left

Panorama of the small settlement Naajaat in North-West Greenland. The Greenland ice sheet is seen to the upper left. Photo #31 by Kim Hansen

reindeer vacationing in Finnmark in the summer

Ever wondered what reindeer do the rest of the year after Christmas Eve? This one is vacationing in Finnmark in the summer. Photo #32 by oh contraire

North Pole expedition

North Pole expedition. Photo #33 by Adam Grimes

Road sign along the Dalton Highway marking the location of the Arctic Circle in Alaska

Road sign along the Dalton Highway marking the location of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Photo #34 by Ixfd64

USS Charlotte at the North Pole in 2005

USS Charlotte at the North Pole in 2005. U.S. Navy Photo #35 courtesy of sublant.navy.mil

Spring 1949 Digging out a weasel - not a fun job when it's 40 degrees below zero

Spring 1949: ‘Digging out a weasel – not a fun job when it’s 40 degrees below zero.’ NOAA At The Ends of the Earth Collection Photo #36 by Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren, NOAA Corp

Ursus maritimus by Steve Amstrup USFWS

North Pole also brings to mind polar bears. A female polar bear with her cubs. When the cubs are born, they are about the size of a rat, 12 to 14 inches long and weigh slightly more than a pound. Photo #38 by Steve Amstrup via United States Fish and Wildlife Service

View of the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) at the Arctic Circle in Yukon, Northwest Territories

View of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at the Arctic Circle in Yukon, Northwest Territories. Photo #39 by Ian Mackenzie

panoramic view of Tromsø ('Romsa in Northern Sami, Tromssa in Finnish) is a city and municipality in the county of Troms, Norway

A panoramic view of Tromsø (‘Romsa in Northern Sami, Tromssa in Finnish) is a city and municipality in the county of Troms, Norway. Photo #40 by Ragnilius

Aurora Borealis around the North Pole, the Northern Lights, from Bear Lake, Alaska

Aurora Borealis around the North Pole, the Northern Lights, from Bear Lake, Alaska. Photo #41 by Beverly & Pack

Mosaic of the Arctic -- North Pole Below

In this mosaic of the Arctic, the polar ice cap appears blue-white, while the ice covering land appears bright white. The ice of Greenland, in the lower left (southwest), is especially bright. Clouds also appear bright white, and can be difficult to separate from ice in true-color images. Most of the clouds in this image appear in billowing swirls, while ice tends to be smoother. This can only be confirmed in the false-color images that were also generated by MODIS that same day. Photo #42 by NASA / GSFC / Jeff Schmaltz / MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

An oval of glowing green light in Earth's upper atmosphere encircles the magnetic North Pole

An oval of glowing green light in Earth’s upper atmosphere encircles the magnetic North Pole. Screen capture / Video #43 by NASA / Polar

beautiful clear summer day over the North Pole

Beautiful clear summer day over the North Pole. You can see ice covering most of the Arctic Ocean with a few leads of open water (dark) starting to open up. If you look very close you can follow the Lena River upstream from the Arctic Ocean all the way to Lake Baikal. Much of the Middle East was clear and you can trace spectacular swirl patterns of folded rock layers through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. These mountains formed as the Eurasian and Arabian tectonic plates collided. AP: Arabian Peninsula; CS: Caspian Sea; H: Himalayan Mountains; L: Lena River; I: Indian Ocean; A: Australia; J: Japan; P: Pacific Ocean; large yellow arrow indicates approximate position of the North Pole. Photo #44 by NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University

Earthrise at Christmas

“Earthrise” over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: “We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.” Photo #45 by NASA


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