Coordinates: 90°N 0°W / 90°N 0°W / 90; -0
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets the Earth's surface. It should not be confused with the North Magnetic Pole.
The North Pole is the northernmost point on Earth, lying diametrically opposite the South Pole. It defines geodetic latitude 90° North, as well as the direction of True North. At the North Pole all directions point south; all lines of longitude converge there, so its longitude can be defined as any degree value.
While the South Pole lies on a continental land mass, the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amidst waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice. This makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole (unlike the South Pole). However, the Soviet Union, and later Russia, have constructed a number of manned drifting stations, some of which have passed over or very close to the Pole. Recently, scientists have predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free by 2065 due to Arctic shrinkage. More pessimistically, it was claimed by some scientists that the Arctic ice-cap might temporarily disappear in mid 2008, a prediction which did not come to pass. On December 15, 2008, the Canadian science TV series Daily Planet reported that scientists now predict the ice cap could melt away by 2014.
The sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 metres (13,980 ft). The nearest land is usually said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast of Greenland about 700 km (440 mi) away, though some perhaps non-permanent gravel banks lie slightly further north.