Four in One
Published on 18.06.2007 - The Arctic Arc
By managing this novel crossing, Siberia-Greenland, The Arctic Arc has pulled off a historical success. This represents a multifaceted achievement.(Monday afternoon: still no news concerning the return date of The Arctic Arc).
On the forefront of this adventure, there is of course the unprecedented athletic feat that the two men have achieved; 106 days on the sea ice, from coast to coast (or almost), encountering each day terrible conditions and having to modify the end of their trajectory's itinerary. Because of the inexorable sea ice melt (see the daily articles listed under "the daily website"), this itinerary will probably never be attempted nor achieved again. In this way, The Arctic Arc is an expedition that has already entered into history. It was a true exploration. In addition, they have done the trek North Pole Greenland without resupply!
But beyond this spectacular aspect, other sides of this huge adventure are also to be remembered.
The Educational Chapter
Just as his previous expeditions did, an important educational chapter was linked to The Arctic Arc. Thanks to the Educapoles website of the International Polar Foundation, children have been able to follow the expedition. The teachers have, on the other hand, seized the opportunity to teach understanding and basic notions of environmental protection and polar ecology.
The Scientific Chapter
In parallel to this educational chapter, there was also a scientific mission that the European Space Agency (ESA) had asked The Arctic Arc to carry out. We have already talked about this chapter in length in our press release dated May 5. Nonetheless, let's remind you that, after having measured for numerous years the evolution of the sea ice's surface (and after having concluded that it was diminishing from year to year), science is now focusing on the study of its thickness, a much less rewarding task. Alain and Dixie thus had to measure, throughout their trip and every 50 km, the thickness of the snow cover. Future satellites that will be in charge of measuring the ice thickness will have to be able to take into account the thickness of the snow that lies on top.
This mission took place within the framework of the CryoSat-2 program. This satellite, to be launched in 2009, will provide high precision information regarding sea and continental ice thickness, both in the North Pole and in the South Pole. These measures should allow evaluation of climate change impacts on polar environments.
As soon as they had reached the Greenland coast and even though the expedition had had to change its itinerary, Hubert wished to emphasize that this mission (which concerned the sea ice and not the Greenland pack ice) had been completely fulfilled and with uttermost care.
IPY & IPF
Last chapter of The Arctic Arc: raising public awareness. Let's first remind you that it is under the International Polar Foundation (IPF)'s name that Hubert decided to take on such an adventure. Founded by Alain Hubert in 2002, the IPF believes that the study of polar regions is the best tool to convince society and its leaders that it is necessary to take action if we want to deviate the current climate change pattern and teach our children the meaning of this fight.
Throughout these 106 days on ice, Hubert was thus a flag-bearer. Astutely, he had chosen the framework of the International Polar Year, International Polar Year (IPY), to benefit from an even wider audience and attempt to send his message more broadly. What he did not know before he left is that he was going to succeed this mission, beyond anything we could have expected. This, especially due to the conditions he encountered throughout his itinerary, which were more terrifying than ever but which gave even more weight and legitimacy to his fight.
The Website of the Day
Before this expedition comes to an end, we would like to direct our visitors towards the IPY website, where they will find a real gold mine of information regarding polar regions and their environment. It is, without any doubt, a website of reference, just as the one towards which we directed you yesterday, the "National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC".