Unusual conditions at North Pole

2010-05-18 11:13

Ottawa - A group of British explorers just back from a 60-day trip to the North Pole said on Monday they had encountered unusual conditions, including ice sheets that drifted far faster than they had expected.

The three-member team walked across the frozen Arctic Ocean to study the impact of increased carbon dioxide absorption by the sea, which could make the water more acidic and put crucial food chains under pressure.

Expedition leader Ann Daniels said the ice drifted so much that they eventually covered 500 nautical miles rather than the 268 nautical miles initially envisaged.

One possible reason for the rapid drift was a lack of ice, she suggested. Satellite imagery reveals rapidly melting ice sheets in the Arctic, a region which is heating up three times more quickly than the rest of the Earth.

The first day the team was dropped off the ice moved so quickly to the south that it took the trio 10 days to make it back to their starting point.


"None of us had ever experienced that amount of southerly drift on our previous expeditions, and it continued for such a long period of time. We kept expecting it to stop, we began to pray it would stop," Daniels said.

"At the end of the expedition we were losing three nautical miles a night... it was quite a major factor," she told a news conference in Ottawa.

Many scientists link the higher Arctic temperatures to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Martin Hartley, a member of the team, said the condition of the ice was unpleasantly bad.

"We spent a couple of days walking on ice that was three or four inches thick with no other thicker ice around, which was a big surprise to us," he told the news conference.

"On more than one occasion we came across enormous areas of very thin ice, which is quite stressful to travel on. We came across open water which we had to swim across."

At one point an ice floe the team's tent was moored on broke apart, although no one was injured.

Last month explorers at the team's ice base some 1 100km further south reported a three-minute rain shower, which they described as a freak event.

The team is due to release preliminary results this September. The $3m expedition is sponsored by British insurer Catlin.

  • Jay - 2010-05-18 11:41

    More propaganda to seperate us from our hard earned money.

    1% of all carbon dioxide is produced by humans the other 99% occurs naturally! Please go bullsh!t someome else.

  • Vincent - 2010-05-18 12:02

    I bet they are going to esimate that the ice is going to be gone 10 years quicker than the last esimate, but yet nothing is going to be done about it. Prepare yourselves people, times are changing. Websites R Us ( )

  • Anarchy - 2010-05-18 12:05

    Awesome. Killing a whole planet. humanity rocks.

  • Adriaan Bosch - 2010-05-18 12:07

    I wonder if they ever test the water temperature at depth. What I read out of all these news articles are that they are always referring to the air temperature increase. If you want your boere wors to defrost quickly you put it in a bowl of water you don't leave it outside in the warm air. Is their any chance that volcanic activity could have heated up the water or maybe even a shift in ocean currents could be heating the water and causing the ice to melt at a quicker rate?

  • Muhammad - 2010-05-18 12:12

    Climate change is upon us...

  • alan - 2010-05-18 12:35

    And yet the denialists continue to spout 'conspiracy theories' and deny the facts under their noses about global warming...

  • GuyForks - 2010-05-18 12:46

    Strange to hear scientists willing to "pray", isn't it?
    I thought only Christians and other religious nuts did that?
    Oh, I see, one CAN be a scientist AND be Christian as well!!!! ;-)))

  • Sirhackelot - 2010-05-18 13:09

    Funny how everytime mother nature does something we do not expect or like, we blame global warming.

  • Ir8m8 - 2010-05-18 13:18

    i does not shock me on how few comments there are on this one, people just dont seem to give a damn.

  • LordWabbit - 2010-05-18 13:21

    Great, notice that it was sponsored by an insurance company. Watch the rates of all beach side property shoot up now.

  • CTheB - 2010-05-18 13:22

    @Jay - Firstly, that number depends on whose numbers you believe. On what basis did you pick that 1% as truth over all other numbers (including other estimates by those on the "man isn't to blame" side of the fence)?

    Secondly, so what if the percentage is small? That on it's own is meaningless. You're assuming that that percentage does not constitute a significant enough push away from equilibrium to cause a problem. And what about even a small contribution over time? Turn a bicycle wheel slight to the left or right of true and as the bike moves forward it slowly turns in that direction. The contribution can be tiny, but that doesn't make it any less significant over time.

    @Adriaan - yes, the air temperature is referred to, but the air temperature is drive by things like water temperature. Yes, changes in currents may be responsible (much or all of the world's climate is driven by ocean currents), but they can be influenced by by external factors. Also, the ocean will heat up if more light is being reflected back to the surface.

  • mike - 2010-05-18 13:57

    @Jay its ignorant idiots liek you with stupid statistics like those that dont help us, WE are the cause of the worlds carbon dioxide issues, dont blame something else, the proof is there this is just an alarming discovery that the effects of global warming can not be 100% dateline correct, this proves that. fact of the matter is, its TOO late climate and mass climate change is upon us within the next 10 years, we just better get used to it.

  • ZION PAY - 2010-05-18 14:00

    Thankfully something always comes along to strengthen the theory of Global warming. Good.

  • darkwing - 2010-05-18 14:31

    It's time for humanity to be cleaned up. We did not clean up our act and now we will be cleaned up. Jay, it's all about money. That's why we are in this predicament.

  • PayBack - 2010-05-18 15:40

    So I guess the next best thing governments will start doing is to make you pay tax every time you fart. Because that is carbon too you know :)

    Besides the humor, the bible has warned about these types of things. Even Siener Van Rensburg said in one of his predictions, something about the ice melting.

  • leroyr - 2010-05-18 17:49

    If you dont think global warming is a problem then you are blind, who causes most of the damage is not what the argument is about... what we need is change, change as in understanding our place, looking after what we have! Looking at venus we can see what can happen if a process runs out of controle! By not understanding the fundamental actions life has on it's environment, and what role the atmosphere plays on the planets surface, then one will deny these facts as nothing more than propaganda. Like it or not, we are not immune to the laws of life, we will pay for our mistakes(as a pieces) be it today or a 1000 years. We do have hope in that we can foresee the consequences our actions have, lets just hope we act!

  • Stephen - 2010-05-18 17:56

    Darn, my beer's not cold. Must be global warming.

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