Dec 22, 2008 | 2
Three months after NASA dropped 90 rubber ducks into holes in Greenland’s fastest-moving glacier to track the melting of Arctic ice, there’s no sign of the toys.
The duckies were deposited into moulins (tubular holes) in the Jakobshavn Glacier in mid-September by Alberto Behar, a robotics expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The idea was that the ducks would float along the same channels that melt waters do, and wherever they emerged would reveal the path of the disappearing ice.
The ducks have Behar’s e-mail address stamped on them, along with the word "reward" in three languages, including Inuit. NASA is offering $100 to the first person who locates a duck, London's Guardian newspaper notes.
Aug 27, 2008 | 1
For the second year in a row, the fabled Northwest Passage has opened in the Arctic—thanks to a sea-ice melt that has already shrunk the polar cap to the second smallest extent ever recorded. And with a few more weeks to go in the summer thaw season, 2008 could surpass 2007 as the smallest amount of sea ice on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
This year's record-breaking melt was, to some extent, set up by the 2007 season—also a record-breaker. More open ocean means more trapped heat in the water, which means that thinner ice forms during the long Arctic winter. Thinner ice melts more readily when temperatures rise. So, despite a relatively cool summer this year, the sea ice is just melting away.
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