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Arctic explorers end North Pole trek early
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16:30, May 15, 2009

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British explorers on an Arctic expedition cut short their mission to measure the thickness of floating Arctic sea ice because of early summer ice melt.

Polar explorers Pen Hadow, Ann Daniel and photographer Martin Hartley had planned a three-month journey to the North Pole, but ended their arduous trek Wednesday, approximately 304 miles (490 km) from their destination, said Hadow.

The expedition surveyed 434 km across the surface of the frozen Arctic Ocean over 73 days, amid treacherous snow conditions and temperatures dropping below minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) with a wind chill.

"This year, the summer melt came a little early," Hadow said during a Webcast conference from Resolute Bay in northern Canada. "We would have rather reached the Pole if we could have, but we've always regarded (getting there) as the cherry on the cake."

Hadow said the group's goal was to cover as much distance as possible and gather as much information as possible.

"Along the way we realized (getting to) the Pole was not achievable so we sacrificed it very easily," he said.

Yet they still managed to collect thousands of measurements of snow and ice depth and density by drilling and physically measuring as well as making comprehensive observations, they said.

The data will be used to help scientists further understand climate change by getting a better picture of when sea ice in the North Pole will melt completely and not refreeze seasonally.

Source:Xinhua/Agencies




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