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  • The Poles – canaries in the mine | South Pole 1911-2011
    a reduction in ice coverage will have impact on many Arctic species Illustration Audun Igesund Norwegian Polar Institute Paradoxically it is in the coldest parts of the world that climate changes start earliest and are strongest Just like the canaries that were formerly used to warn of high levels of poisonous gases in coal mines the polar regions are now warning us about a warming trend that will have an increasingly strong impact in other parts of the globe Global temperature is rising but the increase is not evenly distributed Some places are warming less than average whereas others called hot spots are warming more At Faraday Station on the Antarctic Peninsula the temperature has increased nearly 3 C in the last 50 years That is about five times the global average There is a striking similarity between what is happening on the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Svalbard northern Barents Sea area In both places warming has led to less sea ice and major changes in the ecosystem While the penguins wander southward in Antarctica ice dependent animals such as ringed seals and polar bears head northward in the Arctic In the south floating ice shelves have collapsed in Svalbard glaciers are retreating so quickly you can almost see it happening At the Norwegian Polar Institute s centre for Ice Climate and Ecosystems ICE researchers examine how endemic ice dependent species adapt to a warmer Arctic What happens to the reproduction and migration patterns of polar bears Will a northward retreat of the ice edge impair the health of ivory gulls impair their reproduction and force them to patrol larger territories to find food The researchers have many questions and few answers More knowledge is needed We may see dramatic changes tipping points for arctic marine ecosystems when the

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-21-canaries-in-the-mine.html (2014-09-28)
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  • All to no avail | South Pole 1911-2011
    Yes that s exactly what we are talking about how much delay can we tolerate before it becomes completely impossible to keep up with our timetable But we have no answers If we had started on the same day as Amundsen 19 October we would have had to cover an average of 23 km per day including 14 December We are not intimidated by this but it doesn t give us much margin for delays either But what if weather conditions maroon us at Union Glacier too What if our plane is unable to land at Bay of Whales How much bad weather and lying low can we manage during our ski trip What speed can we maintain at 3 000 metres elevation up on the Axel Heiberg Glacier Amundsen s dog teams only needed four days There isn t a ghost of a chance that we will manage that But on the other hand what if we get a few days with good sailing winds on the flats of the Ross Ice Shelf How much of Amundsen s head start can we recoup then Cecilie Skog maintained a daily average of 25 km when she crossed the entire continent two years ago We have two depots She had none Obviously Cecilie is made of pretty stern stuff But we have Ulvang Other comparable expeditions have also averaged around 25 30 km per day We ought to be able to do the same We ought to be If we calculate a one week delay setting out four days of lying low because of severe weather allow two extra days for the climb up AH and remember that we should actually reach the pole 13 December that requires us to cover an average of 30 km per day We should be

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-20-all-to-no-avail.html (2014-09-28)
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  • The day we should have set off | South Pole 1911-2011
    lay low and thick that morning but at half past nine an easterly breeze picked up and cleared the air Amundsen asked his men What do you think Shall we get underway This was their second attempt to go south Amundsen was under pressure thinking that the Englishmen might set off earlier and be able to move faster over the ice with the modern vehicles they had shipped to Antarctica But skiing towards the South Pole in September at temperatures below 50 degrees had not been a good idea The attempt had nearly cost Kristian Prestrud his life and Hjalmar Johansen s criticism of the boss had deprived him of a place on the team that went south A conflict we will have reason to say more about later on But now it was almost spring in Antarctica a mere 17 5 degrees and the five men who wanted to win the race to the Pole were as ready as they would ever be I hope it will not be the same fiasco now as last time wrote Bjaaland the skier from Morgedal and he made himself a little promise If I come through this journey alive I must keep myself away from polar exploration it seems an empty endeavour One hundred years ago today five men Roald Amundsen Olav Bjaaland Sverre Hassel Helmer Hansen and Oscar Wisting stood ready with four sleds and 52 dogs Prestrud had rigged up the cinematograph and immortalised the start of one of the most famous races in history For nearly three years we have been planning to stand at the exact spot where Framheim lay on this exact date But Antarctic weather is beyond the control of any human being The spring season has only just begun and we have always known that

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-19-the-day-we-should-have-set-off.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Smooth skiing in cold conditions | South Pole 1911-2011
    skiers Photo Erik Edland The underside of the ski was first given a fine grained structure that offers less friction than an entirely flat surface After that the gliding zone was saturated with cold glide wax CH4 and CH6 which was scraped and brushed ten times before we left Norway The kick zone was roughened up with coarse sandpaper a thin layer of ice klister and base wax has been ironed in On top of that went five thick layers of Polar wax Roald Amundsen writes about new snow at the start of his expedition If we meet similar conditions we may be able to use waxed skis for the first few dozen kilometres Waxed skis offer lower friction than if we attach skins strips of synthetic fur that prevent the skis from gliding backwards Once the wax has been worn down we will have to use skins anyway We have skins of three different lengths We also have a small lump of CH4 to put on the glide zone on days when we encounter the snow conditions Amundsen called fish glue Our skis are from Åsnes the model named Roald Amundsen and are 205 and 210 cm long Roald Amundsen s skis of finest hickory were eight feet long 244 cm The extra length was meant to improve the skis capacity to carry weight over the dreaded crevasses which we also expect to be the greatest peril we meet on the expedition On our feet we have Alfa s latest model North Pole with BC back country bindings and extra inner boots of felted wool whereas Amundsen had specially made moccasins with a rigid sole and uppers made of leather cloth and sealskin The bindings were Huitfeldt s model with iron clips which revolutionised the sport of skiing when

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-18-smooth-skiing.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Discouraging news | South Pole 1911-2011
    they didn t finish in time to beat the approaching low pressure zone News that signifies delays keeps coming in But there isn t much we can do about it Photo Harald Dag Jølle Norwegian Polar Institute This means we must continue to wait here in Punta Arenas We accept it stoically There is simply nothing we can do about the situation We recalculate how much distance we must cover

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-18-discouraging-news.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Fighting weight | South Pole 1911-2011
    weight we ve been told This well intentioned advice comes from polar travellers who have experienced how the kilos melt away in the Antarctic wastelands Cecilie Skog weighed just 44 kilos at the end of her last expedition And Vegard has personal experience of what it s like to lose 14 kilos in fourteen days which is what happened to him when he crossed Greenland So we have done our homework We have eaten at dawn and at dusk Between meals and before dinner Eaten large amounts of food we would ordinarily avoid or eat only sparingly Tall thin Jan Gunnar has been working diligently for two years and is mighty pleased about the little bulge at his midriff and the 92 kilos shown by the bathroom scales Stein got the nickname Short Fatty before leaving home And here in Chile we have ample opportunity to continue increasing our fighting weight Big steaks and juicy Magellan mutton dripping with fat Nansen was also eager to lay on some extra kilos before confronting the ice Already at Egersund on his way north with Fram in 1893 he wrote home to Eva that he was eating like a wolf and filling out like a hippopotamus Nor did the crew of Fram suffer any deprivation The first winter Nansen wrote Have mercy on us How will this end Several of us look like pigs all fattened up for the slaughter and Juell the cook is swelling something awful in both jowl and belly What if they were forced to evacuate that paunch by Jove would be a terrible thing to drag across the ice if it should ever become necessary Better start thinking about a starvation diet now We have been in training for this expedition for several years But at the moment

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-17-fighting-weight.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Delayed! | South Pole 1911-2011
    in 1911 The dogs are ready Photo The Norwegian National Library The time zone is important here Amundsen started at 09 30 New Zealand time 19 October which is 22 30 on 18 October Norwegian time and 17 30 here in Punta Arenas also 18 October Amundsen is getting a head start on us After we land on Union Glacier we still have a 2000 km flight to Hvalbukta and

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-17-delayed.html (2014-09-28)
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  • What would Amundsen say? | South Pole 1911-2011
    will start skiing Map Norwegian Polar Institute Whatever Amundsen might have thought the southernmost point on the globe has become a popular destination for adventurers great and humble traversing distances long and short During this Centenary season 210 people will reach the South Pole one way or another That is about 50 60 more than during a normal season Of those 210 people 70 75 are Norwegian These numbers do not include researchers affiliated with the American base at the South Pole Nor do they include people who intend to climb Mount Vinson That mountain is on the Seven Summits list of the highest peaks on each continent 190 people were flown in to the foot of Mount Vinson last year Most of these Antarctic expeditions fly in from Punta Arenas Antarctic Logistics Expeditions ALE is the only private airline that offers services in this area And there is no such thing as a cheap ticket here This year they will fly in 6 5 tonnes of cargo to their own base at the South Pole to be able to handle all their clients Around 14 December they will have two physicians stationed there full time ALE handles three types of customers Soft clients or Fly ups who are flown to the Pole spend a couple hours and are flown out again Last degree clients who traverse the last one or two degrees of latitude to the pole One degree of latitude corresponds to 110 km Long distance expeditions ALE has registered nearly 60 Norwegians who will sail or ski to the South Pole from various starting points during the next few months The shortest journey will traverse the last degree of latitude the longest will originate from Hvalbukta In terms of kilometres Aleksander Gamme has the most ambitious plans

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-16-what-would-amundsen-say.html (2014-09-28)
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