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The Arctic: Closer Than You Think

The next time you get caught in a rainstorm, you might have the Arctic to thank. It may sound strange, but it's true. This icy place affects us — and we affect it!

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The Arctic may seem very far away. But scientists say the Arctic affects people all over the world. Weather is one way. Cold, dry air forms over the Arctic and moves south. When this air hits warm, wet air, storms are created. These storms are part of weather patterns that travel around the globe.

An Unwanted Gift

The Arctic might bring rainstorms to our part of the world, but what we bring to the Arctic can be much worse. Chemicals from factories in the U.S. and other countries are carried to the Arctic by wind and water. The cold Arctic environment acts like a freezer. It lets the chemicals last for a long time. "The chemicals get into the water and food supply," said Barbara Horlbeck, an Arctic expert. "That can harm the Arctic's animals and people."

Science at the North Pole

Because so much pollution ends up in the Arctic, scientists say it's a good place to study the environment. They look at the icy ocean and the nearby land. That gives them an idea of how much pollution the world is creating. It tells them about the health of the whole planet.

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