Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Huskies 'walking' on water in Greenland.

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They say "a picture paints a thousand words" - and that was indeed the case when a Danish meteorologist tweeted a photograph of what appeared to be husky dogs walking on water in northwest Greenland.
Steffen M Olsen captured the image, which has gone viral, showing sled dogs, ankle-deep - which he said were "running on sea ice flooded by surface melt water" - in the Inglefield Bredning fjord.
He was part of a team from the Danish Meterological Institute (DMI), monitoring sea ice and ocean conditions in the area, close to the village of Qaanaaq.

Husky dogs appear to be walking on water in northwest Greenland. Pic: SteffenMalskaer and the Danish Meteorological Institute
                     Husky dogs appear to be walking on water in northwest Greenland. Pic: Steffen

The DMI said that on an "exceptionally hot day" last Thursday, Mr Olsen had the "difficult task" - according to colleague Rasmus Tonboe - of retrieving their oceanographic moorings and weather equipment because of the standing water on the sea ice.
Olsen tweeted: "Communities in #Greenland rely on the sea ice for transport, hunting and fishing.
"Extreme events, here flooding of the ice by abrupt onset of surface melt call for an incresed (sic) predictive capacity in the Arctic."
He added: "The photo documents an unusual day. I learn now that it is even more symbolic than scientific to many. Tend to agree."
He said the ice that the dogs were on, was around 1.2m (4ft) thick and that they had "about 870m water below us".
Greenland's ice melting season normally runs from June to August, but the DMI said this year's melting started on 30 April, the second-earliest time on record going back to 1980.
But experts claim it is too soon to suggest the photo taken on that "unusual day" is down to climate change.
Climate researcher at the DMI, Ruth Mottram, explains: "As the ice in this region is relatively thick and fracture free, the meltwater is unable to drain away through cracks in the ice as it would normally and hence the challenging conditions for the dog sleds.
"Last week saw the onset of very warm conditions in Greenland and in fact much of the rest of the Arctic, driven by warmer air moving up from the south.
"This led to a lot of melting ice, both on the glaciers and ice sheet and on the still existing sea ice."
The DMI weather station nearby at Qaanaaq airport registered a high of 17.3C (63F) on Wednesday and 15C (59F) on Thursday, said to still be very warm for northern Greenland, even in the summer.
Ms Mottram added: "Given how warm it was, it's easy to see why there was a lot melting.
"With regard to what it means in future, our climate model simulations expect there to be a general decline in the length of the sea ice season around Greenland.
"How fast and how much is very much dependent on how much global temperature rises, but this week's warming is still a weather driven extreme event so it's hard to pin it down to climate change alone."

Sky News.

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