Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Arctic explorers on half rations

Polar explorers
The team are measuring the thickness of the icecap

Arctic explorers Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley have three days' food left on half rations as they wait for a supply plane.

They are uncomfortable but safe after poor weather halted resupply plans.

Mr Hadow and Mrs Daniels, from Devon, and Mr Hartley from London, are on a 1,000km trek to help scientists measure how quickly the icecap is melting.

It will be the most detailed survey of its kind this season, and should be completed in late May.

'Good spirits'

Expedition spokesman Rod Macrea told BBC News: "They are uncomfortable, but not in danger.

"They are hunkering down and their spirits are good."

He said the support team was confident of getting supplies through in the next three days.

"Poor weather is totally understandable in the Arctic," he said.

"It is something they are prepared for."

Only a few years ago, researchers predicted that by the end of this century the Arctic could be free of ice in summer. Some now say that could come far sooner.

The major scientific institutions and agencies that study the Arctic attribute the changes to global warming.

Mr Hadow, 46, Mrs Daniels, 44, and Mr Hartley, 40, will attempt to get base figures from which to measure changes in the thickness of the ice.

Mr Hadow, from Hexworthy, Devon, became the first person to trek solo and without support from Canada to the North Pole in 2003.

Mr Hartley, from Hackney, east London, is the expedition photographer and Mrs Daniels, a mother-of-four from Whimple, Devon, is navigating.

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