Day Thirteen: 144 miles travelled, 571 miles remaining
The days aren’t getting any easier. But rather than focus on the daily struggle, I thought I’d share some facts about Antarctica more generally.
Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and iciest continent in the world. It was the last continent to be discovered although the ancient Greeks thought that there was probably a southern land mass. It was a ‘Davis’ that is thought to be the first person to ever set foot on the continent – John Davis, an American captain, is believed to have disembarked from the sealing ship Cecilia in 1821 and unwittingly stepped into the annals of Antarctic history. And now here I am, nearly 200 years later… another Davis in Antarctica.
Over 30 countries have scientific research facilities in Antarctica and all research is shared as part of the Antarctic Treaty arrangements. The British Antarctic Survey is the UK science presence (lots of these facts are from their website which is well worth reading – www.bas.ac.uk), but their bases are mostly on the peninsular so I won’t see any of them unless my navigation is way off! The American’s run the Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station, which I definitely do want to navigate to as it is right next to the Pole.
Scientists in Antarctica study a wide range of topics but the area closest to my heart is climate change. Antarctica is a very important piece in the global climate systems and a unique environment to study climate change. Ice cores from ice that is over half a millions years old shows that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere today is higher than at any point in the last half a millions years or so. In the last 60 years of studies in Antarctica the average temperature has risen by 3°C.
Antarctica has 90% of the ice in the world, which is over 1 mile thick in most areas, nearly two miles thick at the Pole. Every minute Antarctica loses enough ice to keep the UK in slushies for a year (thanks ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’ podcast for that fact!) – that’s billions of tonnes of ice melting every day. If all the ice in Antarctica melted the sea would rise by nearly 70m.
Seeing the unique beauty of Antarctica makes me even more passionate about raising awareness and reducing our impact on climate change. I’m proud to work for a global sustainable energy generation company (simecatlantis.com), when I’m not skiing all day. The idea of a day at the office suddenly seems quite appealing after dragging myself through the deep snow for another 12 hours.
The sun was out again today which made a big difference to my mood and my mileage, my best yet. I can also use the solar charger to recharge all my GPS and sat phone batteries, as after 5 days of whiteouts everything was nearly empty.
To help Jenny raise funds for Children in Need, click here or text ‘SPJD99 £3’ to 70070 to contribute £3.
Comment below for the chance to have Jenny answer your questions during her solo expedition to the South Pole.