The Arctic is a really weird place right now. This past winter was astonishingly warm across most of the planet, and nowhere so much so as Alaska and northern Canada.
This week, outdoor adventurers in Yukon, Canada, were in for a surprise when a frozen, snow-covered lake suddenly turned into a swimming pool. Several days of temperatures near 50 degrees melted the snow on the surface of Lake Laberge, even though the ice underneath was frozen solid and almost two feet thick. This week’s temperatures have broken records in a part of the world that is used to being in a deep-freeze that often lasts through the month of May.
Fortunately for them, the campers had canoes at their campsite, and were able to get their gear home by towing the canoes by snowmobile across the lake. The footage of the trip is bonkers, as the snowmobiles appear to cruise across the open water. You can hear the laughter of the man behind the camera as he takes in the scene in disbelief.
Meltwater overflow is not rare in the Arctic, as the snow on land and ice melts much faster than frozen lakes and rivers. When ice breaks up on rivers in the spring, the chunks can often jam up and cause flooding as the raging river pushes on from behind. Overflow pools are common near the edges of lakes, too, as meltwater rushes down from the surrounding area but has nowhere to go.
But this six-inch pool of water across a three-mile-wide, thirty-mile-long lake? It just might be unprecedented. Just three days ago, the lake looked like this:
In a world of climate change, where the North is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, unprecedented just might be the new normal.