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Arctic Circle

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Arctic Circle
Locations of the Ice Sevens swims around the world, including in the Arctic Circle

noun - The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. As of 24 January 2016, it runs 66°44′46.1″ north of the Equator.

The region north of this circle is known as the Arctic, and the zone just to the south is called the Northern Temperate Zone. The equivalent polar circle in the Southern Hemisphere is called the Antarctic Circle.

The Arctic Circle is the southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours (at the June solstice and December solstice respectively). North of the Arctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore not visible at noon). On the Arctic Circle those events occur, in principle, exactly once per year, at the June and December solstices, respectively. However, in actuality, because of atmospheric refraction and mirages, and because the sun appears as a disk and not a point, part of the midnight sun may be seen on the night of the northern summer solstice up to about 50 minutes (′) (90 km (56 mi)) south of the Arctic Circle; similarly, on the day of the northern winter solstice, part of the sun may be seen up to about 50′ north of the Arctic Circle. That is true at sea level; those limits increase with elevation above sea level, although in mountainous regions there is often no direct view of the true horizon.

The position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed. It directly depends on the Earth's axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of 2° over a 40,000-year period, due to tidal forces resulting from the orbit of the Moon. The Arctic Circle is currently drifting northwards at a speed of about 15 m (49 ft) per year (see also Circle of latitude).

Open Water Swimming

  • Lewis Pugh completed the first open water swim at the Geographic North Pole in July 2006. The 1 km (0.62 mile) swim, across an open patch of sea, in minus -1.6 °C water, took 18 minutes 50 seconds to complete. Jørgen Amundsen, the great grand nephew of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, paced Pugh by skiing alongside him during the swim. The swim coincided with the lowest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded.
  • The Oceans Grand Slam is a open water swimming solo challenge to complete the Oceans Seven in addition to completing a 1 km swim anywhere within the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle in the Southern Ocean. The Oceans Grand Slam is open water swimming's equivalent of the Explorers Grand Slam or Adventurers Grand Slam (an adventurer's solo challenge to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and complete all of the mountaineering Seven Summits).
  • Murmansk, Russia is site of the IISA 4rd World Championship Murmansk 2019 and 1st Arctic Cup in March 2019.
  • On 5 September 2021, Lewis Pugh completed 14 stage swims over 12 days swimming a total of 7.8 km in the Ilulissat Icefjord within the Arctic Circle as part of his Greenland Swim, an unprecedented multi-stage ice swim where he swam every day in water temperatures between 0°C and 3°C (32°F – 37.4°F) for the purpose to impress upon world leaders the speed of the climate crisis at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Lewis Pugh In The North Pole

Competitive Ice Swimming

The inaugural World Ice Swimming Championships (or the International Ice Swimming Association World Championship) was held in Murmansk, Russia on 20 March 2015 in 0.8°C (44.4°F) water and -6°C air temperatures in Semenovskoe Lake under the sanction and auspices of the International Ice Swimming Association. Murmansk is the biggest city in the world inside the Arctic Circle and location of the International Winter Swimming Competition (80th International Holiday of the North or the Polar Olympics) and the Russian Open Winter Swimming Championship conducted by the Department of Physical Culture and Sport of Murmansk and organised by Irina Andreeva and Blokhin Dmitry.

Murmansk is one of the world's capitals of ice swimming. It is the site of the Murmansk Mile and the Festival of Sports in June. The Murmansk Mile is a 1.2 km swim across Kola Bay in water 4-8°C with currents with over 40 ice swimming participants that is organised by Blokhin Dmitry. The Festival of Sports has more than 10,000 participants and spectators in 11 different kinds of sports.

Ice Swimming

The Ice Sevens Challenge is the ice swimming equivalent of the Oceans Seven. To achieve the Ice Sevens, a swimmer must complete a 1 km swim in a manmade pool or in an open body of water under standard ice swimming rules (i.e., no wetsuit and no neoprene hat) in the following locations:

1 Any location in Europe below 5ºC (41ºF)
2 Any location in Russia below 5ºC (41ºF)
4 Any location in China below 5ºC (41ºF)
4 Any location in North America below 5ºC (41ºF)
5 Any location in South Africa below 5ºC (41ºF)
6 Any location in South America below 5ºC (41ºF)
6 Any Polar location in the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Ocean below 5ºC (41ºF)

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