by John Goetz
You make bathtime lots of fun,
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you;
Woo woo be doo
From the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald:
NASA uses rubber ducks to fight global warming
September 23, 2008 – 10:27AM
Rubber ducks are the latest weapons in the fight against global warming, according to NASA.
NASA scientists have dropped 90 of the ducks into holes in the Jakobshavn glacier – Greenland’s fastest moving glacier – in a bid to understand why glaciers speed up in the summer in their march to the sea.
The toys have been labelled [sic] “science experiment” and “reward” in three languages, and carry an email address.
The ducks, if found by someone who emails NASA about their discovery, could tell scientists how melting water moves through ice, Alberto Behar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said.
“It’s a beautiful place to visit. You can watch these icebergs continuously march across and fall into the ocean,” Mr Behar said.
“Right now it’s not understood what causes the glaciers themselves to surge in the summer.”
That’s where the rubber ducks come in, along with a probe about the size of a football loaded with a GPS transmitter and instruments that can tell much about the glacier’s innards.
Mr Behar said he hoped a fisherman or hunter might find a duck or the probe but so far nothing had turned up.
Perhaps the reason glaciers “speed up in the summer” is because it is warmer in the summer and ice melts faster when it is warmer and water under ice helps reduce friction, thereby improving speed?