This is the Shocking North Pole Photo Everyone is Freaking Out About

Does this place look familiar?

The Atlantic Ocean? Nope. The Pacific? Not quite. It's the North Pole! The image, taken last Thursday by a web-cam, is courtesy of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, funded by the National Science Foundation and responsible for monitoring the Arctic Sea like a hawk since 2000.Does this surprise you?

It should, but only in a larger context. Although the North Pole is melting, there is a larger implication of this beyond the Arctic. Let me explain."

Here's a before and after comparison, courtesy of CBS News:

Ideally, the North Pole should be covered in ice. Normally, it is, but this hasn't been the case recently. Last week, a small lake appeared at the North Pole. Several media networks, especially on the Internet, jumped on board with this breaking news. As an activist, I'm eager to start pointing fingers.

However, it's important to look beyond the headlines. According to Huffington Post Green, this isn't the first time the North Pole has turned into some sort of swimming pool, but "perhaps in some previous climate states, that would not have happened." Logically, the melted ice could have been avoided if the climate were cooler. Furthermore, previously, even larger bodies of water have resulted from melted ice. The North Pole has been melting since 2002! It's old news.

Additionally, the way the camera is angled made the image of the "lake" seem much bigger than it actually is. Plus, i09 says the web-cam itself is not in the exact location of the North Pole, but approximately 300 miles away:

There's also another significant – and fairly logical – detail. Although it appears to be just a body of water, there is still a layer of ice present under the water that the photographs don't visually reveal. There tends to be less ice during the summer months, anyway. In fact, Mother Nature Network reports the Northwest Passage has been opening up during the warmer months, making it successfully navigated by sailboat. This sounds like a thrilling discovering for booming business, but also is entirely cruel news for the environment.

Call off the bloodhounds; Santa's workshop will not be flooded. Nonetheless, as global citizens, we still need to aware of the situation and its implications. The ice in the Arctic has been melting and thinning over the last decade. Even so, melting ice is fairly irregular for such a frosty region, and a likely cause for alarm.