NORTH POLE CAMERA UP AND RUNNING

NP1 0417 2015cam1_4

DANGER  Looking at these pictures can be addictive. Furthermore, they can lead to arguments about sea-ice with fanatics, and even (gasp) holding the politically incorrect view that there is no “Death Spiral” and the North Pole isn’t going to become ice-free.

On the other hand, looking at these pictures is soothing on hot summer days, a good way to forget pressing issues and to zone out, and can introduce you to interesting people.

The above view is from camera 1, and is a wide angle lens. I’m not sure what the deal is with camera 2 this year, as it seems to have a narrower view.

NP2 0417 2015cam2_2

The link to these pictures is  http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/index.html .

Currently the camera is at 89.651°N,  38.819°W and is drifting northwest, which is a little unusual, as the camera tends to head south towards Fram Strait. Usually they continue to send pictures into September, but last summer one was knocked over (perhaps by a bear) in late June, and the second was too close to a pressure ridge, which buried it in rubble later in July.

The camera is undergoing a “heat wave”, as a southerly wind has raised temperatures from -15.5°C on at 1730z on April 14 to -2.7°C at 1800z on April 16. (4.1° to 27.1° Fahrenheit)  Winds are quite strong, at a steady 22 mph (gusts aren’t reported.)

Barneo wind April 16 317886_original

The cameras are deployed from the Barnea Camp. With these winds, it must be rough on the tourists at that camp. (See my post at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/jets-landing-gear-fails-at-pole/  )

The cameras take a group of three to six pictures, four times a day. One trick I have learned is to open the pictures to a new tab, and then click back and forth between the pictures. This makes slight shifts in the ice, which otherwise would be difficult to notice, jump out at you, but you need to be careful not to be tricked by the shifting shadows. (One thing to keep an eye out for is polar bear tracks. Keep your fingers crossed no bear gets interested in the camera, because those bums have no respect for all the hard work and tax-dollars involved.)

Usually nothing much happens for the first month or so, as things are basically frozen solid, and temperatures seldom get above freezing until June. Once temperatures get above freezing, they can stay above freezing for over a month, as the sun never sets, and the melt-water pools start to form. Of the camera moves south into Fram Strait the final pictures sometimes show a nearing ice breaker, sent to rescue the camera.

I am thinking I might start a “Polar Camera Post”, with views from these cameras, as well as the four “O-buoy” cameras, plus some of my amazingly witty and lucid comments.

An elongated low north of Greenland is causing the winds, and bringing the mild air north.

DMI2 0417 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0417 temp_latest.big

 

 

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