Catlin Arctic Survey 2011: 4 Day Storms And Moments In The Sun

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The 2011 Catlin Arctic Survey continues to press ahead with their mission, despite the fact that the weather in the arctic is proving to be quite challenging this year. The team has suffered through plenty of snow and ice, as you would expect, but the scientists at the Ice Base got more than they bargained for recently when a blizzard raged for four days straight. Meanwhile, the Explorers Team are off at last, but not before conducting the most northerly interview ever with CNN.

As you probably recall, the Catlin team is in the arctic for the third straight year, where they are conducting important research on the impact of global climate change on the ice there. The project is privately funded and broken down into two teams. The Ice Base team is made up of scientists and researchers who stay at the base to take samples and measurements of the conditions there. Meanwhile, the Explorers Team have flown to a point near the North Pole and will now travel on foot to Greenland. Along the way they’ll be checking the health of the arctic ice to better determine what impact the changes in the polar regions have on other parts of the world.

Life at the Ice Base is always a challenge of course, but last week it was made all the more so thanks to a storm that went on for four days. That storm brought sustained winds of 30 knots and temperatures that plummeted to -35ºC/-31ºF. Whiteout conditions were the norm, and the combination of those conditions made it difficult for the crew to conduct their experiments and take readings. Those conditions are not great to live in when you have a permanent shelter, but when you’re in a tent, they really become exasperating.

The Explorers on the other hand, have made their way to their starting point, thanks to quite an effort to find them a suitable landing zone for the drop off. Before they got underway however, they took a little time for the media, conducting what is believed to be the most northerly interview in television history with CNN. You can check out the video of the interview below. Now the team, which consists of Brits Ann Daniels and Phil Coates, American Tyler Fish and Australian Adrian McCallum, will begin their 300 mile journey across the ice. It took awhile to get there, but the real work is just getting started.

Kraig Becker