In the spirit of the holiday season (decorations are already on sale at your local stores) and recycling, this week’s blog from Laurie Loftin, Program Specialist, is a recycled blog post to celebrate Christmas in July!
Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s an Amazon drone. It’s Santa Claus! Yes, it’s Santa Claus. A jolly old elf from the North Pole who comes to visit good girls and boys with gift giving abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Santa Claus, who can slide down the tightest of chimneys, make gazillions of toys with his bare hands, and fights a never-ending battle to promote consumerism, as it is the American way.
This December, remember to take part in another exciting episode in the adventures of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve track his flight across the world, thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Using radar, satellites, SantaCams, and jet fighters, the NORAD is the envy of the NSA every Christmas, as they keep children everywhere up to date with the surveillance of St. Nick. The official tracking website, which is currently offering to send birthday greetings from Santa so he can make it through the off season, allows your little ones to see how far the sleigh is from their home, play holiday games, and listen to well-loved Christmas carols.
Now to tie this blog to water. Santa Claus’ legendary workshop is located in the North Pole. I admit I only think of the North Pole in December and when recycling this blog. The location brings to mind images of snowy white landscapes and mountains of ice. This past winter I was curious as to what the North Pole looks like during the other seasons of the year.
Much to my dismay, I once again confirmed to myself how completely misinformed I am about most topics. Relying only on the teachings of claymation classics such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Year Without Santa Claus,” I incorrectly believed Santa’s workshop in the North Pole to be a fixed location on snow-covered land. I have since learned a few things as shocking as if someone told me Santa isn’t real.
First, there are two North Poles. One is the North “Magnetic” Pole, the other is the geographic location. No wonder no one has been able to find Santa’s legendary workshop! Which area should one search? To further add to the confusion, the North Magnetic Pole is constantly moving – about 35 miles a year – due to magnetic changes in the Earth’s core. Can you imagine the headache this must cause Santa? He could leave to deliver presents and, because of the different time-space continuum he exists in, return to his workshop only to discover the whole setup has moved somewhere else!
The other thing I learned is the North Pole, be it the North Magnetic Pole or the Geographic North Pole, is not made up of any land mass. It is made mostly out of shifting sea ice, aka frozen water. Santa’s magical workshop sits on top of solid WATER! Without water the North Pole of claymation and Santa’s workshop would not exist. I knew water was important, but I didn’t realize the legend of Santa Claus depends on this natural resource for his survival.
Last summer images from near the Geographic North Pole caused a bit of controversy. The headline grabbing news shouted the North Pole is melting! Climate change believers and non-believers sought to disprove each other. But neither group could deny the image of a lake in the North Pole. Ice was melting. Apparently this is not out of the ordinary. Axel Schweiger, who heads the Applied Physics Laboratory’s Polar Science Center, and other researchers explained in Science Daily that it is not unusual to find a melt pond on an ice floe during summer months. I guess Santa Claus is use to the possibility of the ice below his workshop melting come mid-July?
I encourage you to use the NORAD Santa tracker every year to locate the North Pole and follow Mr. Claus on his epic journey. I also suggest NORAD keep the tracker up and running after Christmas. With the geographical headaches Santa must encounter every year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the jolly old elf soon decides to change his zip code. Perhaps he could move closer to China or Thailand. The tracker could alert us to when and where Santa relocates, making it easier to prove his existence. And maybe we could finally get a new, exciting, claymation adventure entitled “Santa Claus is Movin’ to Town”.
Merry Christmas in July to All – enjoy the gift of water.