WITH just days to go before Coventry explorer Mark Wood sets off on his most dangerous challenge yet, it has emerged that the conditions his team will face in the North Pole will have never been so treacherous – because of global warming.
Mark and his team of serving soldiers, Paul Vicary and Mark Langridge, are hoping to step into the history books by trekking from the Russian arctic coast to the North Pole.
The three-man team will set off on a 60-day expedition dubbed ‘A Race Against Time’ next week across across fragile Arctic ice in what could be the last mission of its kind by a British team.
And a warning from a climate change advisor to the government that Arctic sea ice levels are plummeting to a ‘record low’ because of an unusually warm January has highlighted the danger of the mission.
“Mark Wood and colleagues will soon be leaving the Russian coast to haul sledges to the North Pole,” said Dr Stephan Harrison, an Exeter University-based climate change scientist.
“This already hazardous expedition is being made much more dangerous by climate change which continues to melt Arctic glaciers and sea ice, and this January unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean meant that sea ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record.
“Mark’s expedition will serve to draw attention to climate change in the region and the global impact this will have in the future.”
The revelation comes just days before explorer Mark and his team are dropped by onto the Russian Arctic Coast to begin a two month-long expedition to the geographic North Pole.
The route the team will follow is already a death-defying one that only a few explorers have ever completed and scientists predict will become impossible by 2058.
Speaking to the Observer, Mark said he was feeling scared and concerned about the unknown as he preapares for a long period in a ‘frozen hell’.
The team has been warned that the Arctic ice could melt from their body heat as they sleep because it is only two years thick in some places.
The trek was also due to take 60 days but because the Polar ice station that the team needs extracting from is due to close earlier than planned, due to the warmer Arctic conditions, it will now just have 55 days to complete 600 nautical miles.
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