About the North Pole Web Cam Images in 2003
Read the essay on the puzzling summertime of 2003 as observed by the North Pole Web Cams and view animations from the 2003 web cam 1 and 2 (small) and web cam 1 (large).
From the North Pole Web Cam. Click for information
about the instruments and features in the North Pole images.
Click for realtime data from the North Pole instruments.
NOAA/PMEL's first North Pole Web Cam was deployed on April 28, 2002. In order to conserve power and reduce satellite transmission time, web cams are programmed to send a limited number of images per day from the North Pole. The cameras are dynamically programmable, so PMEL can communicate with the cameras to 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 (seen in the camera images).
Web cams are deployed in the spring and transmit images throughout the sunlit summer months. The North Pole is in winter darkness from October until March.
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 North Pole 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.
- 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|