Glossary of Arctic Terms:


The fraction of light reflected by a surface back into space. Ice and other white surfaces have a high albedo (close to 1) while dark surfaces have a low albedo (close to 0). An albedo of 1 means that all incoming energy is reflected back out. An albedo of 0 means that the surface is absorbing all incoming energy. Albedos closer to 0 will cause more warming because they are absorbing more incoming energy. As snow melt increases, the Arctic albedo lowers, causing more heating leading to more snowmelt.


A plant or plantlike organism of any of several phyla, divisions, or classes. Algae is mainly aquatic, usually chlorophyll containing, but lacks a true stem, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue. It includes seaweeds and many single-celled forms.

Arctic Council

The other primary subsistence activity of the Sami people is fishing. Although this is an integral part of


An aquatic arthropod with hard shell, segmented body and jointed appendages such as crab, lobster, barnacles, shrimp, and copepods.


Single celled algae with silica shells.


Tourism directed towards natural environments to support their conservation efforts and observe wildlife sustainable without causing harm or destruction.

Endemic species

Species that are not found anywhere else.

Externalities (negative and positive)

Side effects or consequences of economic activity that affect unrelated third parties. Externalities can harm the third party (negative externality) or benefit the third party (positive externality.)


A ship designed and equipped for breaking a channel through ice.

Marine mammals

A mammal who lives in marine or aquatic environments. These include cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses), fissipeds (sea otters and polar bears), and sirenians (sea-cows including dugongs and manatees.)

Northern Sea Route

A sea route from the Barents Sea to the Bering Strait following the northern coast of Siberia.


Plankton plant life.


Small to microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or freshwater. Plankton mainly consists of diatoms, protozoans (single-celled microscopic animal), small crustaceans and the eggs and larval states of larger animals. Plankton is the primary food source for many animals, and the base of many food chains.

Sea ice

Frozen seawater that moves with oceanic currents.


Plankton consisting of small animals and the immature life stages of larger animals.

updated 29-Mar-2017