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The Associated Press issued a formal retraction of a photo it published that claimed to show that a large lake had formed at the North Pole due to global warming.

In its retraction, the AP admitted that not only was the “lake” simply a small melt-pond but that it was natural, not due to global warming. The AP also admitted that the “lake” wasn’t even at the North Pole, explaining that the monitoring station where the photo was taken had drifted hundreds of miles to the south.

UPDATE: Full AP retraction

Editors, photo editors, and photo librarians – please eliminate AP photo NY109 that was sent on Saturday, July 27, 2013. The caption inaccurately stated that “the shallow metlwater lake is occuring due to an unusually warm period.” In fact, the water accumulates in this way every summer. In addition, the images do not necessarily show conditions at the North Pole, because the weather buoy carrying the camera used by the North Pole Environmental Observatory has drifted hundreds of miles from its original position, which was a few dozen miles from the North Pole.

UPDATE 2: The backstory

A few weeks ago a photo made the rounds of news websites and blogs purportedly showing a scientific monitoring station at the North Pole surrounded by what appeared to be a large lake. Silly liberal journalists and bloggers blamed global warming, wringing their hands that if the North Pole was melting then the rest of the planet couldn’t be far behind, or something.

“The continued heating of the seas and melting ice caps does not bode well for ice cover in the arctic. Sorry, Santa Claus. It may be time to move to one of those ice bars,” Yahoo News wrote July 24.

But as we at Rare reported July 28, that simply wasn’t the case. You see, such “lakes” are really small melt ponds that form naturally every year on Arctic ice floes during the summertime. They’re not due to global warming at all.

Second, the research station in question isn’t even at the North Pole. In fact, the ice floe it’s mounted to has drifted — again naturally — hundreds of miles south.

“[T]he cameras in question, which are attached to instruments that scientists have deposited on the sea ice at the start of each spring since 2002, may have “North Pole” in their name, but they are no longer located at the North Pole. In fact, as this map below shows, they have drifted well south of the North Pole, since they sit atop sea ice floes that move along with ocean currents,” according to Climate Central.

Oops. Still, we’re glad AP finally got around to retracting the bogus photo it sent to every newspaper in the world.

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by Matt Cover |