North Pole Web Camera 2 Adrift in Large, Expanding Melt Pool

North Pole Camera 2 in Melt Pool

North Pole Web Camera 2 sits in large and expanding melt puddle.

(Image source: APL)

Last week, a melt puddle began to form near APL’s Camera 2. The pool extended in the near camera field from left to right just beyond the black and white markers. It covered just more than half the field of view and was represented by a thin, though growing, swath of melt water.

As you can see in the image above, last week’s melt pool has greatly increased. It now covers the entire camera field and has turned the ice on which the camera stands into a tiny island. In the distance and to the left-hand side, we can also see a black stretch of open water cutting between the ice flow upon which the camera sits and a far ice flow barely visible in the distance.

Hole at the North Pole

Since early June, a series of storms have consistently worn away at the central ice, resulting in thinning over an area that is usually very resilient to melt. This thinning has resulted in steep losses of sea ice concentration and thickness in a large swath near the North Pole and extending into the Laptev Sea.

The US Navy’s most recent thickness model run shows this expanding swath of thin ice in the animation below:

North Pole Hole

(Image source: US Navy)

In the most recent model prediction, central sea ice melt is shown to continue to expand through next week. So, through direct observations on the ice and through model summaries like the one above, we have clear evidence of expanding ice melt in the Arctic’s most protected regions. As such, it seems North Pole Camera 2 may soon be in even deeper water.


Melt Ponds, Distant Open Water Visible at North Pole Camera 2

Leave a comment


  1. Robert,

    The persistence of weak, thin ice near the Pole ever since the 2013 PAC (in spite of less-than-favorable melting conditions this year) has been nothing less than astonishing to me. We may actually see ice-free conditions there this year.

    It’s very likely that this melting is being driven from below – but the lack of sea temp data under the ice is frustrating. Do you know of any research facility that tracks this? I don’t have a source.

    Personal thanks for your excellent reporting on this topic and many others. My area of expertise is not climate. I’m learning a great deal from this site, Neven’s, and others.


    • There are a number of agencies that model temperature data based on observations.

      I’m honestly not certain how accurate these models are as they can seem contradictory. Needless to say, they seem to be terrible at capturing localized upwelling and warming just beneath the ice surface which, in the view of some, is a strong melt forcing (stronger than atmosphere is many respects).

      It would be useful to have more refined tools for tracking sea temperature at the ice-water interface and just beneath. I’d think that might take some type of buoy system, though.



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