Polar pair to test ice cap depth
Pen Hadow, who lives on Dartmoor and Ann Daniels from Whimple in east Devon, will be gathering detailed data on the thickness of the ice cap. The aim of the Vanco Arctic Survey is to establish how long a year-round ice cap at the North Pole will continue. During the 120-day, 2000km (1,200 mile) trek they will take 10m-depth readings, some in areas little explored. Their radar readings should differentiate between snow cover and the thickness of the ice itself, unlike satellite and submarine data which can artificially increase the depth of the ice by including snow. Conditions are expected to be tough, with temperatures dropping as far as -50C for the three-strong team of Mr Hadow, Ms Daniels and photographer Martin Hartley. In parts of the expedition, which is due to start in February next year, the explorers will have to swim in dry suits. Mr Hadow, 44, said: "We'll do whatever it takes."It's a straight line from Point Barrow in Alaska to the North Pole. "It's a route that's been selected by scientists to give a really good variety of estimated thicknesses. "So it's a really good test of the models of climate change and how long the ice cap will be with us." This year saw record melting of the Arctic ice cap to 39% below the average minimum, causing experts to predict the Arctic ocean would be ice free in summer within 25 years.