@MartinRHartley: Mother Nature’s noble effort @arcticmarch @PftP_int @MONTANEuk @fstopHQ
Governments around the world have promised to limit temperature rises to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to avert ever more catastrophic effect of climate change like heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea level. The policies in place so far put the world on target for a temperature rise of up to 4.8C (8.6F) by 2100. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. The latest report from the IPCC scenarios showed world emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, would need to peak soon and tumble by between 40 and 70 percent from 2010 levels by 2050, and then to almost zero by 2100, to keep rises below 2C.
Here in the Arctic the evidence is the obvious. Twenty four days on skis, 350 km under the belt we have seen nothing but one year ice – ice that will melt this summer. What is already happening here will be the norm for areas south of here. Even if this year is the best ice coverage since years, one year is no trend, it doesn’t mean the Arctic is recovering, it is already the 5th worst season on record. it will be more important to see how this summer affects the ice and the National Snow and Ice Center in Boulder, Colorado will report this in September.
The IPCC also reports that we need to be open to methods of taking carbon out of the atmosphere, since we are losing valuable time. A simple method is to plant trees that soak them up as they grow, the IPCC says.
That is the premise of Plant for the Planet- planting 1 billion trees by 2050 by children, the generation that is going to inherit the severe effects of climate change. This expedition Hope is exactly about that, a show and tell, a finger on the pulse of the condition of the Arctic and establish a sense of urgency to curb fossil fuels and transition to alternatives and plant trees, that is the easiest thing to do. The flag in the photo represents wishes for the North Pole that children in Noordwijk wrote before I left on this expedition. I am carrying these wishes with me all the way to Canada and inspire them to help preserve this spectacular and important environment.
Eight hours in the harness gave us a bounty of 16km, and that with heavy loads. The surface is perfect and with the superior glide of our plastic sleds we have been remarkably swift. However the slightest bump can have us heaving and grinding in our harnesses. A slight easterly helped to keep us cool. We are recording zero drift.
Pic of our team basking in the arctic sunshine.
Eric Philips trying to raft into the wind, on thin ice. We soon gave that up & skied to another crossing further west!
Wallace, the pilot, said on the radio he didn’t like the landing site we selected. He didn’t think the ice was thick enough. He circled around a few times touched the icy lead briefly but took off again. My heart dropped. It is up to the pilots integrity whether he lands or not. Martin’s stories of landing on ice come to mind and I slightly panicked as the pilot circles around once more and said on the radio he has to look for something else. If he can’t land we get the barrels dropped and that would mean we would have to ski to Canada from this location, which would be unachievable with the food and fuel we have left. Luckily, Wallace found a snow patch a few km away from us. At 22:00 we were airborne, the frozen arctic stretching into infinity below us. I stare at the endless white, broken up by leads, pressure ridges and cracks. Soon this will all be ocean again as it claims the ice in summer. It was the right perspective to get from the air, a cocktail of insanity and pride, but mostly I just sat glued to the window in disbelief what I saw., thinking it is impossible to survive out here and felt vulnerable. Martin filmed for an hour because it was so beautiful and couldn’t put his camera down. It is rare to fly so high over the Arctic in clear conditions. At W077 we saw the biggest lead, scattered like a broken dinner plate, it looked frightening to have to go through. and the pilot decided to drop us at W079. The landing took 4 attempts but on the 5th he touched down and was successful. We unloaded our sleds , Wallace said it would be clear sailing to Canada “there aais nothing in between you and the coast, see you in 10 days”. We laughed because we know better, before we reach the coast, we need to cross sand dunes, pressure ridges as big as apartment buildings, the arctic will throw its last challenge at us, we won’t come off the ice that easy . But if you are a pilot and see it from the air, the arctic looks flat, frozen and uneventful.
The plane arrived around 8.30pm and we received our barrels of food and fuel. Spent some time packing the sleds while the pilot gave the co-pilot a little lesson on drilling for ice thickness.
An hour flight south west took us to N85.53 W79.23. We flew over mostly flat ice but a large open water area in the last few minutes made us thankful the pilot flew us over it.
In bed by 2am, slept in, distributed food and fuel and skied almost 9km in the afternoon with heavy sleds again. Great to be on the move after 2 days hiatus, particularly as the day was windless and blue. Pic of selfie with Bernice and Martin in the distance. Martin carries an electric shaver so the beard is gone as of 2 hours ago.