Two UK polar explorers are making final preparations and tests before they embark on a pioneering £3 million expedition.
Pen Hadow and Ann Daniels will plot the future of the Arctic Ice cap. They will use specially-built radar to measure the thickness of the ice. They will take about 10 million measurements which will help scientists calculate more accurately how long the ice cap will last.
The pair are experienced explorers – Mr Hadow became the first solo explorer to trek from Canada to the North Pole whilst Ms Daniels was a member of the first all women team to trek both the South and North Poles.
Mr Hadow and Ms Daniels will be joined on the expedition by specialist polar photographer, Martin Hartley. The trio are currently at Broughton Island, northern Canada where they have been rehearsing their daily routines in temperatures as low as -30C. In addition to this they are practising their drills and tasks and checking scientific and life supporting equipment is performing correctly.
Mr Hadow told the BBC that training conditions were tough since Broughton Island is in darkness for about 20 hours a day.
The team will embark on the 3 month Catlin Arctic survey expedition to the North Pole at the end of February. They will take samples of ice, snow, air and water as well as recording density measurements of the snow and ice and measuring the water column under the sea ice. All findings will be submitted to scientists via satellites using a data up-link system directly from the ice.
Current scientific predictions on how long ice will be a all year round feature around the North Pole vary considerably from between five and one hundred years. This project is aiming to fill the gap in existing measurement studies taken by satellites and submarines. The finding will be made available next year at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark.