Last summer, Arctic adventurer Pen Hadow led the Caitlin Ice Survey on a scientific expedition to the North Pole. Their objective was to take ice core samples to measure the average thickness of the ice and add valuable data to the discourse surrounding global warming. Avid ADVENTURE readers will recall that things got a bit hairy for Hadow and co. with the team having to abandon the mission before they actually reached the pole. They may not have gotten to zero degrees longitude and latitude, but their findings, which debuted yesterday in London, have still proved highly important. Unfortunately, they have not done anything to dissuade the theory that the Earth is rapidly getting warmer.
Their findings show that the average thickness of the ice-flows measured was 1.8 meters, or so-called “first year” ice, which is the most likely to melt in the summer. According to Professor Peter Wadhams, of the University of Cambridge, this data supports the new consensus among many scientists that the Arctic will be completely ice free in the summer within about 20 years. “It’s like man is taking the lid off the northern part of the planet,” he told the BBC.
Hadow supported these figures with anecdotal evidence from the journey, pointing out that Arctic explorers used to make entire journeys to and from the poll with dog sleds. “Now, we have to wear immersion suits and swim and we need sledges that can float. I can foresee needing sledges that are more like canoes that you also pull over ice,” he told the BBC.—Tetsuhiko Endo