Steffen M Olsen is part of a team from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), monitoring sea ice and ocean conditions near the village of Qaanaaq, Greenland. He recently posted dramatic picture on Twitter, showing a pack of husky sledge dogs running across water.
By, 21 Jun 2019
He took the stunning photograph while crossing the Inglefield Bredning fjord and it seems to show a pack of 6 huskies performing a bonafide miracle - running across the surface of a large river.
A puppy miracle? Unfortunately not!
However, it turns out there's a slightly more mundane reason for the picture.
The gang of pups are actually running across a frozen river covered by a thin layer of water caused by an unexpected rise in the region's temperature.
When asked about the "miracle", Mr Olson said:
“They're running on sea ice flooded by surface meltwater.”
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 predictive capacity in the Arctic @BG10Blueaction @polarprediction @dmidk https://t.co/Y1EWU1eurA— Steffen M. Olsen (@SteffenMalskaer) June 14, 2019
The unusual weather conditions have raised some worrying concerns in regards to climate change.
The ice melting season starts in June, but this year it began in April, making it the second earliest melting season since way back in 1980.
Ruth Mottram is a climate researcher at the DMI. She said:
“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 sledges.”
"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.”
Harnessing puppy power in the fight against climate change
The team will continue their research over the next few months and Huskies are an essential part of the fight against climate change.
These powerful sledge dogs pull researchers and their equipment over hundreds of miles of snow and ice, allowing access to places otherwise unreachable by more traditional transport methods.