Catlin Arctic Survey 2011: Explorers Complete First Phase Of Survey

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It’s no secret that conditions in the Arctic have been especially challenging this season. In fact, there are few explorers out on the ice at all. But that hasn’t stopped the Catlin Arctic Survey team, who have returned to the great white north for another year as they press forward with collecting data on the implications of climate change on the region.

Much like last year, the Catlin Arctic Survey consists of two teams, the Ice Base Team, which consists of scientists and researchers who stay at a stationary base, and the Explorers Team, who are traveling through the Arctic collecting data samples along the way. That team hit a milestone on Tuesday when they completed the first phase of their journey by arriving at the Ice Base.

Traveling to the base was no easy endeavor however, as the four members of the team had to cross the Prince Gustaf Adolf Sea, battling the incredibly bad conditions as they went. Over the course of the 77 mile journey, they had to endure -42ºC/-43ºF temperatures, high winds, and blizzard conditions. But that phase of the expedition allowed them to collect important data about the health of the ice in the region, which is a clear indicator of how climate change is affecting the ice caps.

The four explorers, Ann Daniels and Phil Coates, both of the U.K., along with Tyler Fish from the U.S. and Australian Adrian McCallum, will now set out on the next leg of the adventure. That will be a 300 mile long trek that begins near the North Pole and continues to Greenland. Along the way they’ll continue to collect data that will be shared with researchers upon their return. That data will hopefully give us further insights into how changes in the Arctic are having an effect on weather conditions in Europe and North America.

Kraig Becker