Now here’s a headline from the Daily Mail that got my goat the other day :
“British explorers become first to row to North Pole… after global warming melts ice caps”
Well, sorry guys, but whilst not wishing to belittle what is, after all, quite a big physical achievement this is, well, bollocks isn’t it?
As my regular reader will know, I have just spent a couple of weeks up there. What might be a little less well known is that our vessel’s expedition crew know a thing or two about the polar ice cap and have the academic qualifications to back it up.
They refuse to use the expression ‘global warming’ because they feel that the expression ‘climate change’ is more appropriate and climate change is cyclical and natural. They also point out that there are bad years and good years up there and that there is little or no evidence that the retreat in the ice shelf that has happened this year is in any way unusual. In fact, whilst it is true it retreated a fair way this summer, the ice seems to be reforming earlier than usual. To put it another way – swings and roundabouts…
But what really concerns them up there is not warming, but pollution. In particular, there seems to be evidence that the emissions from the emerging Chinese industrial revolution is pumping pollutants into the arctic atmosphere and this is finding its way into the human and animal food chain. This is a lot more worrying that the ice ‘melting’ – things are being poisoned.
But back to that offending headline :
What the Mail seems to be missing in it’s scramble for a feelgood headline is that these guys rowed to the MAGNETIC north pole which, as it happens, is nowhere near the GEOGRAPHIC north pole. We got within 600 miles of that other one and, believe me, there was no way you were going to get there in a rowing boat – as you can see from the picture I took when one of our zodiacs got stuck after we went ‘ashore’ for a walkabout…
Oh yeah – and I almost forgot. The magnetic pole has shifted since 1996 and these guys rowed to where it was then, which means they missed today’s location by about 738 kilometers!