Scientists have been calling attention to the global warming crisis for years, but they now have pictures that are truly worth a thousand words. The North Pole Environmental Observatory has recently released photos and a time lapse video of the shockingly large lake which has formed at the North Pole. More frightening still, the research group, which has been monitoring the Arctic sea since 2000, reported that the lake has formed every summer since 2002. And, with North Pole temperatures regularly coming in at 2-5 degrees (F) above average, it is unlikely that this annually-occurring lake will disappear anytime soon.
As July is usually the month of fastest ice melt, this year’s lake has been growing steadily since July 13th and is currently about a foot deep. This foot of water comes solely from melted ice (not from sea water seeping up to the surface) and is still separated from the ocean below by the older, thicker ice plates that are less prone to melting. However, the very existence of this lake is dangerous for surrounding areas as water picks up larger amounts of the sun’s radiation than solid ice and can warm surrounding ice plates. Scientists point out that the Arctic is trapped in a vicious cycle as melting ice releases methane into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming and, in turn, causes more ice to melt.
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