Farewell to the sea-ice

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From 20.06.2009 to 15.08.2009 - Status: success

Drifting on the sea-ice

Drifting on the sea-ice

© International Polar Foundation

Three French nationals, Emmanuel Hussenet, Luc Dénoyer and Catherine Meta, are attempting to pay homage to the polar sea-ice by allowing themselves to drift wherever the currents, ice and wind take them off the east coast of Greenland. For a month.

"Climate warming is not just something that involves scientists. It concerns us all, because each of us contributes to and suffers from all of its effects. ..." This is how the press material for this unusual expedition begins.

Elsewhere in the releases, Emmanuel Hussenet zooms into the plight of the polar sea-ice. "And what suffers first? The ice, the polar sea-ice, this powerful crown of pack-ice that sits atop the Earth. Little is known about this ice, yet it makes a mighty contribution to the balance of our planet's climate. This terrifying environment is also totally amazing and stunningly beautiful. I have been coming back to it for the past ten years and I become increasingly feverish about it as the end of its existence approaches: as we all now know, in just a handful of years from now, the icy Arctic Ocean will be free of ice. Multi-year sea-ice over one year old will totally and permanently disappear from the planet. The environmental risks involved will become major issues. Faced with the inevitable, I suggest in my essay "The Last Will and Testament of the Ice" what we still have to do as a minimum: watch and witness..."

Whatever happens, the plan for the expedition is highly unusual. Setting out with Emmanuel Hussenet, Luc Dénoyer and Catherine Meta from the fjord where Paul-Emile Victor stayed in 1936, the party aims to find a sheet of multi-year sea-ice, set up camp on it and drift to the south. No forms of mechanised transport are planned for this adventure. All movement and travel will be by sea kayak. No light expedition of its kind since the 19th century has attempted to drift with the movements of the sea-ice. The three adventurers believe that their mission will remain unique "because it will never be possible to repeat what we are attempting today," they say. As long as sea-ice remains, the Swiss Family Robinson of the ice will continue their adventures.

This experiment is part of a wider "Farewell to the Polar Sea-Ice" programme, planned over a period of 4 years. The programme brings together scientists, adventurers, performers and the media to sound the alarm about the consequences that come with the disappearance of multi-year sea-ice. See more information at the expedition website (in French).

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