Arctic ice melt not extreme, say researchers

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 13:35

Washington: Recently, an image of Arctic showing a lake at North Pole captured lots of attention, but researchers have said that it is not extreme.

Jamie Morison, a polar scientist at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and principal investigator since 2000 of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, said that every summer when the sun melts the surface the water has to go someplace, so it accumulates in these ponds.

Researchers said that one of the issues in interpreting the image is that the camera uses a fisheye lens.

Axel Schweiger, who heads the Applied Physics Laboratory’s Polar Science Center, said that the image is slightly distorted.

He said that in the background it can be seen what looks like mountains, and that’s where the scale problem comes in – those are actually ridges where the ice was pushed together.

Researchers have estimated that the melt pond in the image is just over 2 feet deep and a few hundred feet wide, not unusual to find on an Arctic ice floe in late July.

In the midst of all the concern, the pool drained late July 27, which is the normal cycle for a melt water pond that forms from snow and ice — it eventually drains through cracks or holes in the ice it has pooled on.

The now-infamous buoy was first plunked into floating ice in April, at the beginning of the melt season, about 25 miles from the North Pole.

Morison drilled a hole about three football fields away for a second camera, which is pointing in a different direction and shows a more typical scene. Since then the ice floe holding both cameras has drifted about 375 miles south.


First Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 13:35

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