Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Arctic trek team pushes forward


Martin Hartley tries to get dressed with frozen clothes - and frostbite

The British team trying to measure the thickness of Arctic sea-ice as it treks to the North Pole believes the weather is finally turning in its favour.

Pen Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels have experienced extreme conditions since being dropped on to the ice three weeks ago.

Temperatures have been down to -40C with wind chill, and the drifting ice has blunted their progress.

But the trio say they are now covering more than 10km (six miles) a day.

Arctic ice (Martin Hartley)
Vital re-supply flights eventually got through to the team

The Catlin Arctic Survey team is using a novel mobile radar dragged behind a sledge to record the thickness of the sea ice.

The data will be used to calibrate satellite observations of the Arctic ice, and to constrain the computer models that are used to forecast its likely response to climate change.

The endeavour came very close to a premature end last week when re-supply flights were grounded and the team got down to its last 12,000 calories of rations.

Pen Hadow - the first person to walk solo, unsupported to the North Pole - said the conditions faced by the team at the beginning of the trek were among the worst he had ever seen in the region.


Pen Hadow explains how the team woke to find ice cracking all around

Weather reports suggest more favourable winds in the days ahead, allowing the trio to make more rapid progress towards their goal.

The team has not been able to transmit its radar data direct from the Arctic, as was hoped. Instead, the information gathered so far has been put on to a digital card and handed to a returning re-supply flight.

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