At places like the arctic sea, where the temperatures are typically below freezing point on even the hottest days on the Earth, seeing random patterns of holes on ice can’t be expected. The scientists are getting short of reasons as to how can this be possible. The rocket scientists from NASA who took us to the moon and want to take us to Mars as well, can’t figure out what they are.
NASA’s “Operation IceBridge” is flown every year over both polar regions, Arctic and Antarctic, in an attempt to better understand the connections between the world’s climate systems, and to look at global warming’s effect on some of the most colde places on Earth. This is now in its tenth year of flying over the Arctic. That’s a lot of flight hours spent taking the snap of the region’s land ice and sea ice. But on April 14, 2018, IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag spotted something he had never seen before.
IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz according to NASA, Said “I’m not sure what kind of dynamics could lead to this semi-circle shaped features surrounding the holes. I have never seen anything like that before.”
It’s an intensive, six-month survey over the two hemispheres that uses “the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled,” which includes the plane-based lidar, laser altimeters, and NASA satellites.
Sonntag clicked this photograph from the window of the P-3 research plane while flying over the eastern Beaufort Sea. At the time, the aircraft’s location was about 50 miles northwest of Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta. “We saw these sorta-roundabout highlights only for a couple of minutes today,” Sonntag composed from the field. “I don’t recall seeing this kind of thing somewhere else.”
One theory is that it might be an evacuation feature, in step with Walt Meier, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It has conjointly been recommended it might be because of the way the water washes over the snow and ice as seals return up for air.
The people at NASA exhibited the photograph to the space-curious people. They posted a photo of the baffling ice holes as the April 2018 Puzzler, a month to month challenge in which NASA requests viewers to describe a mysterious pictured object. Where the contest rules mentioned, “Your challenge is to use the comments section to text us what we are looking at and why this place is interesting.”
Viewers came up with some good assumptions of the answer: The holes might be remnants of meteorites or maybe dried up salt lakes, some commented. While one of them guessed that America’s space agency posted a photo of “something that has come from outer space.”
Chris Polashenski, a sea ice scientist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, told that he has seen these features before, but cannot properly describe them. He added that it could be Seals coming out for air, but was not certain.
Some aspects of the picture are easy to describe. The sea ice here is clearly new ice growing within what was once a long, linear area of open water, or lead. “The ice is likely to be thin, soft, and mushy and somewhat pliable,” said Don Perovich, who is a sea ice geophysicist at Dartmouth College. “This can also be seen in the wave-like features in front of the middle ‘amoeba.”
That means the holes could be generated naturally, as warmer bodies of water “make their existence known in this particular area,” melting the sea ice, Chris Shuman, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told NASA.
“It’s surely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little bit snow cover,” said the IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz. “I’m not sure what kind of dynamics could lead to the semi-round shaped features surrounding the holes. I have never seen anything like that ever before.”
“The encompassing highlights might be because of waves of water washing out over the snow and ice when the seals surface,” said Walt Meier, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “Or on the other hand, it could be a kind of drainage feature that occurs from when the gap is made in the ice.”
Perovich goes ahead to take note of that there may be a general left to right movement of the new ice as confirm by the finger boating on the correct side of the picture. Finger boating happens when two floes of thin ice impact. Because of the crash, pieces of ice slide above and underneath each other in an example that looks like a zipper or interlocking fingers.
Sonntag and his camera are no outsiders to odd frozen phenomena. He’s an innovative work researcher and development scientist with NASA and is doled out to Operation IceBridge. He’s likewise the person who clicked that photograph of the crack on one of the biggest ice retires that at last gave the world an iceberg the size of Delaware. So he has seen a lot of ice and snapped a lot of pictures of rarely seen, icy phenomena.
“This is in really shallow water by and large, so there is every chance this is simply ‘warm springs’ or leaks of groundwater spilling out of the mountains inland that make their quality known in this specific zone,” said Chris Shuman, a University of Maryland at Baltimore County glaciologist based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The other relatable probability is that hotter water from Beaufort streams or out of the Mackenzie River is discovering its way to the surface because of associating with the bathymetry, simply the way a few polynyas frame.”
Sonntag clicked the photo April 14th while Operation IceBridge was flying a P-3 research plane over a part of the Beaufort Sea that scientists haven’t explored in significant detail since 2013. As of now, the holes remain a mystery, even as scientists attempt to explain what they actually are.