Great Spring Thaw
Releasing the Frozen Water
The sun’s warming effect on the Arctic is increasing and the sea ice is showing the first signs of weakening.
Inland, the northern rivers are still locked in ice. The frozen waterfalls are like dams holding back billions of tonnes of fresh water that has not
moved for almost six months. The vast watershed lies motionless, but as spring advances, it begins to stir.
The frozen waterfalls start to weaken.
Above them, the pressure is mounting. Now, from high above, whole sections can be seen to be on the move. The waterfalls are straining to hold back the force that is building up above them. The dam bursts… and the river is unleashed.
Millions of tonnes of ice grind their way downstream, driven by the unstoppable force of the meltwater. Boulders and trees are plucked from
the bank side.
Within just a few days, the rivers of the north are all running. The Arctic’s fresh water is flowing again. These vast floods contain 10% of the world’s fresh water and as they enter the ocean, they accelerate the break-up. Soon, an area of the sea ice the size of Australia will vanish from the Arctic Ocean.
As the huge ice sheet breaks up, wildlife returns to the North