Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pen Hadow et al. give up

The Catlin Arctic Survey has surrendered: see Google News. Less than 50% of their goal to get to the North Pole has been realized. They have been taken off the ice today. This is what our readers had predicted:

The adventurers already seemed to be fed up by the harsh conditions so they didn't fight with the pilots. It means that while 97% of the TRF readers were qualitatively correct - that Hadow et al. clearly wouldn't reach the pole - only 23% of them could imagine that the expedition would peacefully give up.

(Sorry, the number jumped above 23% only because people voted after the right answer became known. Please don't feel bad if you had to vote again and you have just twisted the score - but the software doesn't allow me to stop the poll, and the two-week timing didn't work.)

The team has been relatively resilient but substantially less fanatical - and less willing to put their lives at risk - than 3/4 of the readers used to think. You know, when you face the risk of death, some old, cheap beliefs can go away - as the grateful carbon-neutral yachters saved by an oil tanker have learned a week ago. ;-)

The three explorers have learned that the Arctic Ocean is pretty cold! They saw all their advanced scientific gadgets freeze and break. They have survived frozen-solid clothes, a frost-bitten and stinky toe, a needle in a buttock, and an anti-septic cream pretending to be a toothpaste.

The expedition has showed that the Arctic Ocean is cool enough for the airplanes to safely land in the middle of May, much later than what used to be considered as the limit back in 2003 (April 30th). They learned that there are places without any multi-year ice and the new ice can still be very thick.

Most importantly, they have learned that Nature, and not arrogant or other humans, is in charge of the atmosphere. When it comes to millions of squared kilometers of ice, the human civilization is pretty weak and impotent.

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