Pen Hadow, the British explorer, is today due to start a sailing expedition across the Arctic Ocean to highlight the effects of climate change, including an attempt to reach the North Pole.
The voyage will see Hadow’s Arctic Mission expedition, which will involve two yachts, traverse regions of open water that were once permanently blocked by pack ice.
This weekend, however, scientists said satellite images suggested the North Pole would remain inaccessible except by an icebreaker.
This summer has already seen the Arctic sea ice reach its fifth-lowest recorded area in July, falling to 3.2m square miles, about 610,000 square miles below the long-term average. Since then it has declined even further, reaching 2.3m square miles last week.
Scientists warned, though, that despite the rapid melting of the ice there was unlikely to be access to the North Pole via open water for some years.
Professor Mark Serreze, director of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre, said the North Pole was still surrounded by nearly 800 miles of solid pack ice as of last week.
Read more at The Times