Brilliant Beaufort Sea Islands, Rivers, Marine Mammals, And More! | Kidadl


Brilliant Beaufort Sea Islands, Rivers, Marine Mammals, And More!

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With a surface area of 5.42 million sq mi (14.06 million sq km), the Arctic Ocean is the world's smallest, coolest, and shallowest ocean.

You can find many marginal seas in the Arctic Ocean. For example, with an area of 183784.63 sq mi (476,000 sq km), the Beaufort Sea is an Arctic Ocean peripheral sea. The name of the sea was kept in the honor of Sir Francis Beaufort, a British Royal Navy admiral and a hydrographer.

Geographically, it is located in the northern section of the US state of Alaska. The sea stretches from Alaska's Point Barrow to the southern edge of Prince Patrick Island's Lands End. It then continues down the western shore of Banks Island towards the Northwest and into the Yukon Provinces of Canada.

There are many small islands in the Mackenzie River Delta and the Beaufort Sea. On the western bank of the Mackenzie River, you can find bigger islands like Herschel Island and Barter Island. Endicott and Northstar, are two artificial islands in the Beaufort Sea, built to efficiently extract oil and natural gas.

If you liked reading about the Beaufort Sea, then do not forget to check out Baltic Sea facts and Greenland Sea too, here at Kidadl.

Hydrology And Climate

The Beaufort Sea encompasses the entire clockwise gyre of the Arctic Ocean's Canada Basin north of Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta coast, and Yukon, bordering east with Prince Patrick Island and Banks Island. It has also been considered an area of the Arctic Ocean south and east of a line drawn from Point Barrow, Alaska, through Lands End, Prince Patrick Island. The Mackenzie River flows north of the Beaufort Sea.

Alaska's Kongakut and Yukon's Fifth rivers are two more significant rivers that drain into the Beaufort Sea. In addition, the Mackenzie River discharges a high amount of calcium carbonate and dolomite-rich deposits into the Beaufort Sea each year.

The sea is 15364.17 ft (4,683 m) deep at its deepest point, with an approximate annual depth of 406.82 ft (124 m). During most of the year, the Beaufort Sea is ice-covered, except for a brief period in August and September when the ice breaks up close to the coast. In the Beaufort Sea, there are four distinct strata of water.

The upper surface water is about 328.08 ft (100 m) thick and has a temperature of 29.48 °F (-1.4 °C) in late summer and 28.76 °F (-1.8 °C) in the winter. The waters from the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean, which are carried into the Beaufort Sea through the Bering Strait, create the next layer underneath the surface water. The third layer of the ocean is formed by the relatively warmer bottom Atlantic waters, which have a temperature range of 32-33.8 °F (0-1 °C). Temperatures in the cooler bottommost water layer range from 31.28-30.56 °F (-0.4 to -0.8 °C ).

The Beaufort Sea coast is close to the bottom and susceptible to ice scouring and storm surge erosion. The Beaufort Sea's southern limit is formed by the Yukon-Alaska shelf and the Canadian shelf, but their widths and orientations are vastly different. The bottom gradually deepens to 11482.94 ft (3500 m) from the shelf's edge, with the significant Canada Basin to the north reaching nearly 13123.36 ft (4000 m) at its deepest.

Flora And Fauna

The Beaufort Sea's floral and faunal diversity is impressive. The marine waters are home to more than seventy phytoplankton species and 80 zooplankton species. More than 700 bryozoan species, polychaetas, crustaceans, and mollusks make up the sea's benthic fauna.

Arctic cod, polar char, Arctic cisco, lake whitefish, saffron cod, Pacific herring, inconnu, and fourhorn sculpin are significant fish found here. A large population of beluga whales lives in the eastern part of the sea.

The whales travel to the ice-free coastal region and the Mackenzie River Delta during the summer. A diversity of whales, seabirds, and muskrats live in the river delta. The Beaufort Sea is also home to bearded seals, polar bears, and ringed seals. In 1992, a survey estimated there were around 19,629 beluga whales.

In the summer, the area is densely populated by marine mammals and seabirds, and it serves as an important migration staging place and nesting ground.

The Beaufort Sea region has substantial unexplored natural gas and petroleum deposits.

Oil And Gas Exploration

The Taglu Gas Field is significant in the Mackenzie River Delta and was identified in 1971. The Amauligak Field, the world's largest oil resource, was founded in 1985. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which stretches 807.78 mi (1,300 km) across Alaska, was built in 1977 to deliver crude oil through Prudhoe Bay to the ice-free Valdez seaport in the south.

A plan for additional oil and gas drilling licenses in the Beaufort Sea has the potential to reignite a long-running border issue between the US and Canada. What if the sea known for its considerable petroleum resources has more reserves beneath the seafloor of the Beaufort Sea, an extension of known reserves in the neighboring North Slope and Mackenzie River? The Trans-Alaska Pipeline transports crude oil from Prudhoe Bay through Valdez, an ice-free port on Alaska's southern coast, over 807.78 miles (1,300 km) away.

The initial seismic tests for natural gas and oil on the Canadian shelf were conducted in the '60s, and the first bore was completed in 1973. In 1986, Gulf Canada Ltd extracted 1779859.2 cu ft (50,400 cu m) of oil from the Amauligak oilfield and sold it to Japan for a brief period.

However, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) reopened an old sore early when it proposed new exploration licenses off Alaska's coast, such as the potential for opening up regions in the Beaufort Sea that are presently disputed between the US and Canada.

The origin of the disagreement can be traced back to the text of the 1825 Anglo-Russian treaty involving Russia and Great Britain, which was written in French. Accordingly, the United States acquired these treaty rights in 1867 and Canada around 1880 from Russia and Great Britain.

The treaty, according to Canada, defines the border on both sea and land at the 141-degree meridian line. However, the US argues it is only a land border, and that standard marine boundary demarcation extends beyond the coast. These divergent viewpoints only came to a head in 1976, when the US objected to Canada's use of the Beaufort Sea boundary line in awarding oil and gas leases.

Whereas the disputed area holds potential for resources, any discovered deposits are unlikely to be utilized in the near to long term. The deck is stacked against continuous expansion in the North American Arctic due to technological obstacles, high costs, rigorous regulations, poor infrastructure, and the ramifications of the recent Paris Accord.

The plan for oil and gas leases in the disputed area has angered the Yukon government. Authorities in Yukon, the northern territory of Canada abutting Alaska, were quick to condemn what they saw as a breach of sovereignty. If both sides are ready, Canada and the United States are handling this conflict effectively, and it will be resolved soon by following the law.

In a February letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, indicated that the State Department needs to be informed before any lease sales are carried out, using the border issue with Canada as an example.

Commercial Fishing

Some unusual crustaceans or amphipods constantly dwell on the bottom of ice floors, sheltering in massive ice pathways and crevasses from enemies. Polar bears hunt ringed seals, relying on sea ice to reproduce and raise their young. Arctic settlements and shorelines are also protected by ocean ice from degradation caused by waves, currents, and wind.

The Beaufort Sea is a vital home for seabirds and whales, and it is still relatively unaffected by commercial shipping. Polar cod, saffron cod, Arctic cod, chum salmon, Arctic char, lake whitefish, least cisco, Arctic cisco, and other major fish species are found here.

The Canadian Beaufort is home to the most significant population of beluga whales in the world and is a major stopover for over 10,000 traveling bowhead whales. In October 2014, the Canadian government declared that no commercial fisheries inside the Beaufort Sea would be explored unless a study showed that sustainable stocks could be made accessible to the Inuvialuit community first. A moratorium has also been announced by the United States Secretary of Commerce.

Conserving The Seas

There could be a drastic reduction in sea ice levels due to climate change and the accompanying global warming. Ocean conservation, often referred to as marine conservation, is the protection and preservation of habitats in the seas and oceans by management to reduce the indiscriminate use of natural resources. Marine conservation is possible due to research into marine animals' and plants' resources and ecological processes. It is motivated by environmental problems such as species extinction, habitat destruction, and changes in environmental processes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the Beaufort sea, then why not take a look at the fastest sea animal or difference between ocean and sea.

<p>Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.</p>

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