July 24, 2013

northpole
Credit: Flickr

The north pole, that great bastion of eternal cold and barren ice, is now a lake.

It’s a shallow lake, about a foot deep. It’s a cold lake. But it is, actually, a lake.

According to the North Pole Environmental Observatory, the summer ice is melting away at unprecedented rates. The sea of snow is now meltwater.

LiveScience:

"Meltwater ponds sprout more easily on young, thin ice, which now accounts for more than half of the Arctic's sea ice. The ponds link up across the smooth surface of the ice, creating a network that traps heat from the sun. Thick and wrinkly multi-year ice, which has survived more than one freeze-thaw season, is less likely sport a polka-dot network of ponds because of its rough, uneven surface.

July is the melting month in the Arctic, when sea ice shrinks fastest. An Arctic cyclone, which can rival a hurricane in strength, is forecast for this week, which will further fracture the ice and churn up warm ocean water, hastening the summer melt. The Arctic hit a record low summer ice melt last year on Sept. 16, 2012, the smallest recorded since satellites began tracking the Arctic ice in the 1970s."

Sorry, Santa Claus. It may be time to move to one of those ice bars.

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