Arctic Regions, the area centering on the North Pole and including the Arctic Ocean, its outlying waters and islands, and the northern rims of North America, Europe, and Asia. The Arctic usually is considered to begin at the poleward limits of the northern coniferous forest, or taiga. In some areas the region extends far south of the Arctic Circle—the imaginary line circling the earth at about 66° 33' north latitude. In other places the Arctic stops north of this line.
The region covers an area of about 8,100,000 square miles (21,000,000 km 2 ). The Arctic Ocean and its surrounding seas have an area of 5,105,700 square miles (13,224,000 km 2 ); Arctic lands, about 3,000,000 square miles (7,770,000 km 2 ).