About the North Pole Environment in 2003
From the NOAA/PMEL Live North Pole Web Cam

Commentary on the puzzling summertime of 2003 by Dr. Norbert Untersteiner

North Pole: 9/26/03 09:36 UTCWhat is happening to all the images from the North Pole? As Winter cold and darkness falls over the North Pole, snow falls, and blowing snow or ice covers the camera lens. The North Pole is in winter darkness from October until March, and the North Pole web cam will be redeployed in April.

North Pole: Web Cam #1, 9/4/03, 13:03 UTC North Pole Web Cam #2, 9/4/03,  03:30 UTC
Web Cam #1
9/4/03 13:03 UTC
Web Cam #2
9/4/03 03:30 UTC
With the approach of winter cold and darkness, the melt ponds have frozen, and a recent snow blizzard has covered them with wind-blown snow.

North Pole: 7/8/03 17:48 UTC North Pole:  7/4/03 22:07 UTC North Pole: 7/9/03 06:22 UTC
Web Cam #1
7/8/03 17:48 UTC
Web Cam #2
7/4/03 22:07 UTC
Web Cam #2
7/9/03 06:22 UTC

Why are there pools of water at the North Pole? The water is meltwater from the snow melting in Summer temperatures that are above freezing. The pools of water are called melt ponds, and are observed at both web cam locations. On the Web Cam 2 photographs, notice that the leg of the stand appears to have grown thicker between July 4 and July 9, 2003. The new "thickness" is the battery canister, which contains lithium batteries, which are light. The hole that was drilled for the canister is probably flooded by the meltwater, and the canister is floating up. This is good, since it means that the water won't get into the canister or the electrical connector on the lid. However, we hope that the canister won't float much higher and fall over.

North Pole: 5/13/03 06:27 UTC What are the rose colors seen in some photographs? The rose colors recorded by both Web Cams in May 2003 were not seen in any of the web cam photographs from 2002. However, similar rose colors were recorded in artwork by Arctic scientist and explorer, Fridtjof Nansen.

Why is it so cloudy in Spring at the North Pole? Clouds are produced when the North Pole experiences Spring warming and the beginning of Summer melting. Water is evaporated from the melting snow surface, forming the fog and low clouds that are seen in Spring/Summer pictures from the North Pole. Photo from June 2002 Cloudy at the North Pole: 6/17/02 18:22 UTC


North Pole: 5/3/02 20:34 UTC North Pole: 6/6/02 16:01 UTC
5/3/02, 20:34 UTC 6/6/02, 16:01 UTC
5/3/02 Bright sunshine with warm temperatures of 15 F. Sun light from the Pacific Ocean side of the globe. The variations of snow depth can be seen in the image. 6/6/02 Spring melting can be seen by comparing the snow in this photograph with the preceding image from 5/03/02, just a month earlier.

4/29/02, 17:25 UTC Sun light from the Pacific Ocean side of the globe (shadows cast to the right). Jumbled ice on horizon is the pressure ridge at the edge of the floe. From looking at the anemometer, you can see the wind has shifted from the first image and is blowing towards Europe. North Pole: 4/29/02 17:25 UTC
North Pole: 5/1/02 00:24 UTC 5/1/02, 00:24 UTC Sun is a little lower in the sky and the rosy colors are typical of twilight at the North Pole. The white spot in the left is the sun. The haze on the horizon is either clouds or "sea smoke". "Sea smoke" is moisture which has evaporated from small regions of open water.
5/1/02 19:06 UTC In this image, the surface is covered by fog and low clouds. Radiation energy is trapped near the surface and thus the temperatures have increased to a very warm 27 F. North Pole: 5/1/02 19:06 UTC
First North Pole image received First image received from the North Pole, 4/28/02 10:28 UTC, Sun is on the European side of the globe (shadows cast to the left). Snow conditions are typical for cold temperature of 6 F. In the foreground we see 40-50 cm of snow on top of the ice floe which is approximately 2.5 meters thick. From the anemometer, you can see the wind is blowing from Europe.


North Pole: 8/30/02 01:43 UTC North Pole: 9/9/02 09:32 UTC North Pole: 9/18/02 22:45 UTC
8/30/02 01:43 UTC 9/9/02 09:32 UTC 9/18/02 22:45 UTC

The sun is low in the sky in Autumn. As Winter cold and darkness falls over the North Pole, snow falls, and blowing snow or ice will cover the camera lens. There may still be a bit of possible sunlight left in the season, and the melting from that sunlight, or sublimination by dry winds, may serve to remove the snow from the camera lens, but with the onset of winter, the camera will eventually remain snow covered. The North Pole is in winter darkness from October until March.

What is Universal Time? GMT and UTC explained here

More Information :

Web cam Home and Acknowledgments
Daylight and Darkness at the North Pole
• All images 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
• Moods of the North Pole 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
• About the environment                 2003 2002
• About the instruments 2011 2010   2008       2004 2003 2002
• About the web cam(s) 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005   2003 2002
• Weather data 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002