vinces99 writes: Santa’s North Pole workshop is not under water, despite recent reports. A dramatic image captured by a University of Washington monitoring buoy reportedly shows a lake at the North Pole. But Santa doesn’t yet need to buy a snorkel. “Every summer when the sun melts the surface the water has to go someplace, so it accumulates in these ponds,” said Jamie Morison, a polar scientist at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and principal investigator since 2000 of the North Pole Environmental Observatory. “This doesn’t look particularly extreme.” One of the issues in interpreting the image, researchers said, is that the camera uses a fisheye lens so the picture is slightly distorted. Researchers estimate the melt pond in the picture was just over 2 feet deep and a few hundred feet wide, which is 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. This is the normal cycle for a meltwater pond that forms from snow and ice — it eventually drains through cracks or holes in the ice on which it has pooled. The scientists are keeping an eye on conditions to see if the Arctic ice melt this summer comes close to last year's record minimum.
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