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Viral Melting North Pole Photos Not Proof of Global Warming, Scientists Say

Recently, concerns were raised over the supposed melting North Pole after webcam photos captured an ice-covered image in late April and a less-frosty, lake-looking photo in late July, in an article originally published by The Atlantic.

The webcam, monitored by the North Pole Environmental Observatory, has been in place since the spring of 2000 and captures the constant fluctuation of ice coverage.

But as the images spread across the internet and social media, claims of global warming emerged with it.

However, the photos raised the eyebrows of many, including AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell, who conducted a thorough search into the webcam's placement in the arctic water.

According to another article by The Atlantic, one of the webcam scientists confirms this is "not the first time scientists have observed a melt pond at the North Pole, nor is it the largest."

After Ferrell followed up with the North Pole Environmental Conservatory, he received an email reply stating that '"Given the excitement over recent images, we are putting the following write up with the images on our web site."

The write-up clarifies that "The formation of melt ponds has always been a key feature of the summer season on sea ice."

Additionally, they wrote, "...Melt ponds form every year, and considering Web Camera 1, the melt pond coverage at this location (the cameras and buoys have drifted to about 85°N, 5°W) looks pretty typical for this time of year and this location."

The release details that the webcams are not stationary and are subject to drifting, as Ferrell suggested in a blog post.

The conservatory provides online a "drifting buoy map" showing the movement of the buoys, on which the cameras are stationed, over the course of the year.

"In fact, the page and 'drifting buoy map' shows that this buoy farm, while it started out near the North Pole earlier this year, it has drifted south throughout the year and is now at 86.038°N 21.820°E, about 271 miles south of the geographic North Pole," Ferrell writes.

While the melting is, in fact, occurring somewhere, it's not a red flag warning that global warming is rapidly catching up to us, according to the conservatory.

"These melt ponds are a normal part of the seasonal cycle of the sea ice. With respect to global warming, we are more concerned when we see warm air temperatures in the winter that inhibit ice growth and the appearance of heat in the ocean that would melt the bottom surface of the ice," the official conservatory write-up concludes.

For more information, visit 'Did the Media Just Prove the North Pole is NOT Melting?' on Jesse Ferrel's WeatherMatrix Blog.