Like a politician whose peccadilloes lead to "family time," the North Pole lake has had its fill of Internet notoriety. The stunning blue meltwater lake that formed on the Arctic ice disappeared on Monday (July 29), draining through a crack in the underlying ice floe.
Now, instead of 2 feet (0.6 meters) of freshwater slopping against a bright-yellow buoy, a remote webcam shows only ice and clouds.
Though the North Pole lake's 15 minutes of fame focused worldwide attention on global warming's effects on Arctic sea ice, the melting is actually part of an annual summer thaw, according to researchers who run the North Pole Environmental Observatory. "The formation of these ponds and their disappearance is part of a natural cycle," said Axel Schweiger, head of the Applied Physics Laboratory's Polar Science Center at the University of Washington, which helps run the observatory.
The lake, about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, started forming in mid-July, LiveScience first reported on July 23. The size and timing of the lake are typical for this time of year and location, the researchers said.