Guest post by Steven Goddard
Hell Hath No Fury….
Catlin team member Ann Daniels had another very difficult day.
Today has been a difficult day of highs and lows, particularly for Ann, whose morning got off to a particularly bad start. In order to power the different technical components of the kit, the team use large batteries, which need to be heated to a certain temperature in order to extract the maximum amount of power. The process of heating batteries involves Ann, sitting by her stoves for several hours, using a specially insulated piece of equipment to capture the steam from boiling water, in order to get the batteries to the correct temperature.
Ann reached her lowest point of the expedition so far, when after tending the boiling pans of water for several hours, she realised she had pre-heated the wrong battery and had accidently picked up the dead battery from the previous day. It was a painful and frustrating realisation at the end of a cold morning.
On the plus side, at the end of the day, Ann felt warm enough to take off her sledging jacket when getting into her sleeping bag for the night. This is the first time in the 41 days of the expedition so far that she has felt warm enough for this luxury. She adds that she was still wearing 3 pairs of trousers, 2 thermal top layers, 2 hats and 4 pairs of gloves, but still, quite a landmark in the expedition so far!
Consider the following scenario. All goes well and the team arrives home safely some time in the next six weeks. Now, suppose that the Arctic continues to show recovery this summer, and the realization sinks in that the very premise of the expedition may have been flawed.
Such a surface Survey has never before been attempted, and the need for the information has never been greater. Current estimates for the disappearance of the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cover vary from 100 years away down to just 4 years from now. Whatever happens, the consequences of its meltdown will be of global significance in terms of sea level rise(due to thermal expansion of the oceans), the geo-politics of energy resources, rainfall patterns and the availability of water supplies and, of course, the impact on biodiversity, including polar bear.
How would she feel? One can only speculate. But as the Catlin team suffers on the ground, the satellites are watching the ice recover.
Since 2007, the global sea ice area anomaly has increased by more than 3,000,000 km2 and is now more than 600,000 km2 above the 1979-2000 mean. You could fit England, Spain, France and Mexico inside the recovered ice area.
Arctic sea ice extent is rapidly approaching an eight year high for the date:
Arctic ice extent is converging on the 1979-2000 mean: