February 11, 2009

Explorers Begin Arctic Journey

A team of polar researchers left London on Wednesday for northern Canada, where they will begin their journey to the Arctic to survey Arctic sea ice in hopes of gaining a better understanding about climate change in the region.

Once they reach Canada, Ann Daniels, 44, and Pen Hadow, 46, will assemble their kit before taking another flight to the Arctic for the start of their mission on February 27. Accordinf to an AFP report, the explorers are joined by polar photographer Martin Hartley.

Amidst temperatures as low as minus 50 Celsius, researchers will be carrying SPRITE, a radar which measures the thickness of ice every 10 centimeters throughout the trip.

The three-month Catlin Arctic Survey mission will take samples of the water, snow, ice and air. Survey results will be transmitted to Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California via satellite and shared with the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark, next year.

Some fear that Arctic ice could be melting at such a fast rate that there will be no permanent body of it there during the summer months by 2013.

"We cannot afford to fail on this mission -- there is too much at stake," said Hadow. "As a matter of honor, we will gather as much data as we can."

Hadow became the first explorer to trek solo and unsupported from Canada to the North Pole. Daniels was a member of the first all-women teams to trek to both the North and South Poles.

SPRITE Image Courtesy Catlin Arctic Survey


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