On 18 April, the Dutch polar explorer and climate journalist Bernice Notenboom, together with fellow 2 Degrees expeditioners Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels, achieved their target of reaching the geographic North Pole by foot. The goal of the expedition, which kicked off with ESA and stakeholders on 2 February 2017 at the Space Expo, Noordwijk in the Netherlands, was to walk 2 degrees from 88°N to the North Pole – to reinforce the importance of commitment to Action on the 2° Paris Climate Agreement.
2 Degrees expedition kick off at Space Expo. (2 Degrees).
Along their route, the expeditioners had to negotiate tricky conditions with drifting pack ice and extremely thin ice, whilst supporting important climate research with scientific measurements of the snow layer on top of the sea ice.
At the expedition kick off on 2 February 2017, and our planning meetings at ESA’s ESTEC establishment in January and in Banff, Canada (at the CryoSat Science Meeting, I was careful to highlight the risks posed as a consequence of the climate trend towards thinner Arctic ice, coupled with recent observations of extremely anomalous warm winter weather.
Ice-thickness forecast with ice-drift vectors (green) from Sentinel-1 for 5–6 April, 2017. (CMEMS)