Climate change sees adventurers rowing to magnetic North Pole news
27 August 2011

First, the good news: six British adventurers succeeded in rowing to the magnetic North Pole in an open boat, after a grueling, 28-day journey from northern Canada.

The bad news: their expedition was possible because of climate change and global warming that has resulted in the dramatic retreat of the Arctic ice sheet.
 
Jock Wishart, the crew leader, undertook the expedition to highlight climate change and its impact on the Arctic region.

According to him, it was apparent that a lot of ice had disappeared from the region, which a few years ago would have been frozen over.
 
Some scientists have warned that the impact of global warming on the Arctic is severe and the region could be free of ice during the summer months by 2030. In fact, the opening up of the region during summer is expected to result in oil and gas exploration, resulting in further devastation.
 
Over the past two decades, average temperatures in the Artic have gone up by at least one degree Celsius, making the winters shorter and the summers longer.
 
The adventurers embarked on their journey on July 29 from Resolute Bay in Canada and rowed 450 miles. They had a specially-designed, 1.3-tonne boat-cum-sledge (equipped with runners on the underside, to help them haul it over the ice), the Old Pulteney, which they had to drag for several hours towards the end of their expedition.

Wishart, who has set records rowing across the Atlantic, said they encountered polar bears and also collided with icebergs.
 
''This has been an incredible journey,'' remarked Wishart. ''We've now achieved something people thought was impossible and in my view is one of the hardest open-boat journeys ever made. We're tired but in great, great spirits. We've just created history. It is an enormous achievement, and a privilege for our team to have been part of what is one of the world's last great firsts.''
 
US-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre recently revealed that Artic ice is once again retreating below the five million sq km-mark, indicating that the five greatest ice melts since satellite measurements began about 40 years ago, have happened in the past five years.
 
During winters, the Arctic Ocean ice expands to more than 14 million sq km, but melts significantly during summer, reaching its minimum in mid-September.

The 30-year average for end-of-summer minimum is seven million sq km, but since a major thaw in 2007, which reduced overall Arctic ice to 4.13 million sq km, there have been several such contractions.





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Climate change sees adventurers rowing to magnetic North Pole