User:SriMesh/Expeditions swim to the North Pole

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{{prepared}} {{stale|"ends approximately April 26, 2009"}} Friday, March 6, 2009

North Pole expedition teams swim across stretches of the Arctic Ocean with heavy loaded sleds on a three month long trek at the height of the winter season when there is maximum arctic ice extent. In the face of melting polar ice challenges, arctic treks are now underway in the centennial year of mankind's journey to the North Pole.

Cquote1.svg "Everest is very dangerous, but crossing the North Pole, which I attempted to do is ten times more dangerous." Cquote2.svg

—Reinhold Messner, internationally renowned alpinist

John Huston and Tyler Fish of the Victorinox North Pole '09 Expedition aim to be the first American unassisted team to the North Pole. Without sled dogs or air drops to restock supplies, both team mates will carry 30 pound backpacks, and haul 260 pound sleds for 475 miles across a harsh ice ecosystem and through arctic waters. The team began the trek Monday, March 2, 2009 and aim to arrive at the North Pole at the end of April.

On March 1, 2009, Lonnie Dupre, Maxime Edgard Chaya and Stuart Smith started to pull a five foot long, 150 pound sled loaded with food on the Peary Centennial Expedition. Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) placed a claim on the North Pole April 6, 1909.

Pen Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels of the Catlin Arctic Survey, will record ice thickness and density of the melting polar ice cap on a three month, 746 mile (1,100 km) scientific expedition to the North Pole. The team was dropped off Saturday February 28, and expect to arrive at the North Pole at the end of May. Through -55 centigrade weather, they will haul sledges loaded with food, navigational supplies and a radar unit to take ice measurements.

Cquote1.svg The science says the sea ice – it’s not a polar ice cap, that’s the wrong term – has shrunk by 11 per cent per decade since 1979 and thinned by up to 40 per cent over the same period. The process is accelerating, and our findings will reveal how fast Cquote2.svg

—Pen Hadow

The extent of Arctic sea ice grew in February to an average of 14.84 million square kilometers (573 million square miles), an increase of approximately 19,000 square kilometers (7,300 square miles) per day. The maximum ice extent will be reached around March 6, 2009; however, Warwick Vincent, an expert at Laval University and director of the Center for Northern Studies says the summertime ice in the North Arctic could be totally gone by 2013.

Very substantial decrease in Arctic Sea ice in 2007 from 2005 and also from 1979-2000 average

In an interview with Reuters Vincent said that the current data says "2013 [is a] reasonable prediction" for the ice to totally melt in the summer. Vincent also said that "each year we're finding that [it melts] a little bit faster than expected."

Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920)

Arctic expeditions to the North Pole face unique challenges due to Arctic shrinkage as they will not only ski long distances across the barren wind swept polar ice and through snow drifts but they will also need to strip out of warm winter clothing to don dry suits and swim in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean. They all face life threatening dangers of combining swimming and trekking hauling their heavy loads of survival gear. Exposed flesh freezes in one minute at a wind-chill level of 2400. The risk of frostbite increases wearing wet damp clothing or being in contact with freezing surfaces. Hypothermia results from lowered body core temperature from exposure to cold air and water temperatures, inadequate clothing or fatigue after physical exertion in cold temperatures. In -38 to -39C with a five mph wind, the maximum work period in a four hour period is 30 minutes requiring four ten minute breaks to avoid cold weather health hazards. Immersion foot arises from wet footwear during prolonged cold conditions. How long will there be arctic ice to bear arctic expeditions? Are arctic expeditions an endanggered species? Will the next challenge be who can cross the Arctic Ocean in a swim to the North Pole?


Category:Arctic Category:Global Warming Category:Science and technology