Sailors take northernmost trek through Arctic to highlight record thaw
Published Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:37PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 30, 2012 11:51PM EDT
A group of Arctic adventurers have completed their mission to sail the northernmost route through the Northwest Passage in an attempt to expose the extensive melting of the polar ice caps.
The three crew members have been sailing the Northwest Passage for three months, cutting through stretches of water that had previously been covered in thick sheets of ice.
Earlier this week, they navigated their sailboat, Belzebub II, through the M’Clure Strait and into the Beaufort Sea, a course that made it the most northerly trek ever sailed.
The crew, Sweden’s Edvin Buregren, Canada’s Nicolas Peissel and American Morgan Peissel, compiled video and photography along the way, all that showed a distinct reduction in how much ice remained in the Arctic.
Earlier this week, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre reported that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low of 4.09 million square kilometres, and is likely to melt more in the next few weeks.
That amount of ice is down from the previous record low of 4.17 million square kilometre, set in 2007.
Ice levels in the Arctic reach their low point in mid-September before it starts refreezing. Satellite records dating back to 1979 suggest ice levels are shrinking year-over-year.
Dr. David Barber, a professor at the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba, said the polar caps have been melting at an incredible rate and the Arctic could be ice-free sooner than anyone imagines.
“When I started to think about climate change and the effects it was having, I thought 2100 would probably be the time we would see a seasonably ice-free Arctic. I'm now saying somewhere between 2015 and 2030,” Barber told CTV News.
With a report from CTV’s Daniele Hamamdjian