Danger Zone straight ahead!
Published on 01.06.2007 - The Arctic Arc
A huge zone of fractured ice has come up between the expedition and its arrival point along the coast of Greenland. As a result, the men must change their direction and walk around the zone in question. Serious worries amongst the expedition.
The router has thus advised the expedition to no longer head straight towards the coast but rather to walk more eastwards in order to go faster than the "Danger Zone" and thus attempt to walk around the zone. And this is what Alain and Dixie are doing.
If we end up in this zone of chaos, we will be in big trouble...
This new change in plans does not seem to appeal very much to Alain who sounded quite worried yesterday on the satellite telephone. "If we do not walk eastwards quickly, we will end up in this troublesome zone", he declared. "We must therefore change our azimuth. But it's not easy. The zone of security is situated beyond the 40th longitudinal degree west. But we don't know how things will evolve. Maybe this zone of fracture will move faster than expected and come stand in our way again. One thing is sure of course, if we find ourselves in this chaotic zone, we will be in very big trouble... Everyone thinks that 200 km away from our goal, the game is over. But it's completely wrong. Even though Greenland is approaching, anything can happen and disturb the expedition."
Going in circles without realising it!
It is true that this change in direction has come up at the least convenient moment. For several days now, the men cannot see anything on their path and are feeling the pressure of walking through a perpetually cloudy weather: covered sky, visibility down to zero, etc. We have already seen a couple of pictures which have helped us realize what the two Belgians are going through. And today, as a sign of ill omen, Alain came to realize he was turning in circles when he noticed that he had been by the same place a little over an hour ago! Coming to grips with the fact that they must make a huge detour and then realize that they've been turning around in circles for the past 45 minutes is of course not very encouraging...
The Web site of the Day
Two articles published last week in 'The Economist' are most interesting. In the first one ('Anxiously watching a different world'), dated May 24, 2007, the author describes why Canada is now forced to take interest in these most northern regions (North of the 60th degree in latitude) when the government had a tendency to just forget about them.
In the second article ('Postive reinforcement'), dated May 28, 2007, the author explains that, often, a source of global warming can also generate another source which, in turn, will also influence global warming. For example, an ice cover which has melted (1st element of global warming) exposes the tundra which, in turn, since it is of darker color than that of the ice, absorbs the heat (2nd element of global warming). This additional contribution will lead to further ice melt which, in turn, will expose even more tundra, and so on.
A few more sources of information
Please find hereunder several resources dedicated to the melting of the ice cover published by the International Polar Foundation on its other websites (EducaPoles and SciencePoles):
- Educational dossiers on polar regions & climate change available on EducaPoles
- Video interviews with Alain Hubert available on EducaPoles
- Interview of professor Oleg Anisimov on SciencePoles (Future Impacts of Climate Change in the Arctic)
- SciencePoles features articles, interviews, regular news and events related to polar science and research