About the 2002 North Pole Web Cam Images
On April 28, 2002, NOAA PMEL deployed the first North Pole Web Cam on an ice floe drifting outhward from the North Pole. The web cam nd transmitted throughout the summer. With the onset of winter storms and snow, the camera lens became obscured with snow and ice, and the last image from the solar-powered web cam was received on September 6, 2002.
The web cam images are animated and included in a video "Why North Pole Web Cams?" which describes the rationale behind the web cam deployment. Links to images from the web cams for each year are at the bottom of this page. and on the Web Cam home page.
Web Cam: In order to conserve power and reduce satellite transmission time, the solar powered web cam was been programmed to send only 4 images per day from the North Pole. The camera was dynamically programmable, so PMEL could change the configuration (camera angle, zoom, frequency of photos, etc.) at any time. The images from the camera track the North Pole snow cover, weather conditions and the status of PMEL's North Pole instrumentation, which includes meteorological and ice sensors that are seen in the camera images.
Location: The web cam and instruments you see in the photos were deployed on an ice floe at the North Pole. On the horizon, you see the pressure ridge at the edge of the ice flow. Because the ice floes are drifting with the wind, the location (latitude and longitude) of the camera changes every day. When the image at the top of this page was taken, the ice floe was several miles from the North Pole. Click to see the present location of the North Pole camera and instrumentation.
Temperature: The temperature you see in the left corner of the picture is correct. It is the temperature of the camera, and may be warmer than the surrounding air temperature (think about how your car heats up on a sunny day). Because it is spring, the temperatures are warmer than they are in the middle of winter, when the temperatures are near -30 deg C. Also the ocean water below the ice floes is near the freezing point for salt water (-1.7 deg C), so this helps keep the temperatures higher than they would be on land. Click to see the temperature and other realtime data from the North Pole instruments.
Time/date of photographs: The photograph was taken at the date and time shown at the top of the image. The date/time is given as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is the time at the "Greenwich meridian", a north-south longitude line passing through Greenwich, England. (GMT is also called UTC, or Universal Coordinated Time). To convert the GMT/UTC to the U.S. East Coast time zone, subtract 4 hours. To convert the GMT/UTC to the US West Coast or Pacific time zone, subtract 7 hours from the GMT/UTC time. Ignore the number shown in the lower right corner of the image, which is an internal camera system number.
Data from the instruments: Realtime data from the instruments you see in the photographs is available on the 2002 Weather Data page and from the North Pole Observatory web site mentioned in the acknowledgments.
Colors in the photographs: One point to notice is that the midnight sun is already above the horizon 24 hours a day at this location for the first of May. The colors you see in the photographs are correct. For example the rosy colors in the image to the right are normal twilight colors at the North Pole.
- Arctic Videos & North Pole Web Cam animations for all years
- University of Washington's Polar Science Center
- National Science Foundation's Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Program
- Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)
- National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs
| Web cam Home and Acknowledgments|
| Daylight and Darkness at the North Pole|