Thursday, April 22, 2010
April 22 - Earth Day on the Polar Sea...
Happy Earth Day from the top of the world! The team is within striking distance of the North Pole (only 5 miles away!) and they hope to reach 90 degrees tomorrow. Today the team experienced the coldest temps of the expedition with the mercury dipping to -25 C to -30 C. Brrr... add to that a biting wind out of the east and it was a tough day to stay warm!
Despite the cold, the team had a nice day... almost a relaxing day (if such a thing exists on the pack ice). Ice conditions were friendly with big pans and they had a very slight north drift, totaling roughly 1/8 of a mile every few hours. Last night they gained approximately 2 miles north.
Now in their tents for the night, they are enjoying hot chili stew prepared by Chef Keith. They recognize that they are traveling across the one spot on the planet where climate change is having the greatest visible impact. In fact, the ice covering the top of the world is vanishing at a rate far faster than climate models predicted and the forecast is not good. Our team recognizes that even though they are experiencing some of the harshest conditions on the planet, the North Pole region is extremely fragile. With no voice of its own, we need to protect it and be proactive about fighting climate change.
On this special day, one that finds our colleagues, friends and loved ones so close to their goal, perhaps we can all make individual goals to reduce our impact on the Earth. By incorporating small steps into our daily lives (like eating local food, reducing your carbon footprint, and letting you elected officials know that you support tough climate change legislation) we can honor the North Pole and leave it for future generations to explore.
Our team will wake up early in their attempt to reach the pole tomorrow. Reports of deteriorating weather in the coming days may mean that they depart for Longyearbyen tomorrow night. We'll keep you posted!
Check back tomorrow for another update from the ice!