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North Pole Melting Leaves Small Lake At The Top Of The World (VIDEO)

07/25/2013 11:15 am 11:15:45 | Updated Jul 29, 2013

The North Pole probably looks a bit different than you would expect right now. Because, at this very moment, it's actually a lake.


The time-lapse video below comes from a webcam set up by the North Pole Environmental Observatory that has monitored the state of Arctic sea ice since the spring of 2000. Surprisingly, the pole has been melting since at least 2002, according to photos on the project's website.

July is usually the warmest month in the area, but temperatures were 1 to 3 degrees Celsius above average this year. The shallow lake you see at the pole is made of meltwater sitting on top of a layer of ice, according to the observatory.

Arctic sea ice has become a noticeable victim of climate change. The area of ice cover expands and contracts every year with the change in seasons, but last summer's minimum extent was the lowest on record and this year's maximum winter coverage was the sixth-lowest since satellite observations began in the 1970s.

CLARIFICATION: Despite having North Pole in its name, the NPEO webcam is part of a monitoring system of buoys that have drifted south of the pole. It is now at around 85 degrees north latitude and will eventually exit the Fram Strait between Greenland and Norway.

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