The days of polar explorers hauling sledges over icy wastes could soon be numbered as a pioneering expedition has suggested that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer, within 20 years. The Catlin Arctic Survey, led by polar explorer Pen Hadow, found that the area covered by the survey was made up almost entirely of ice less than a year old. The region, in the northern part of the Beaufort sea, used to contain older, thicker ice that formed over several years and was more resistant to summer melting.
Hadow is quoted in The Times as saying: "A hundred years ago explorers used dogs to haul sledges and then we went through the stage of people hauling sledges," he said. "Now we have people wearing immersion suits and needing to swim, with the sledge floating. I foresee a time when the sledge will become more of a canoe."
Video and graphics about the change can be seen at environmentguardian.co.uk