I'm writing this blog from Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland, where a cold katabatic wind is blowing off the ice onto the deck of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.
The ship is here on a scientific research mission, and to document the effects of climate warming on the world's largest island and second largest icecap. I'm on board as the expedition safety guide, which means making sure that everyone venturing off the ship is well-equipped and well-informed for dealing with conditions in the harsh and remote Arctic wilderness.
While it's exciting to work beside world-class scientists such as ice-sheet climatologist Jason Box, glaciologist Alun Hubbard and geophysicist Richard Bates, it's equally disheartening to be here bearing witness to the catastrophic events they record. Watch Eric Philip's video blog
Each year I guide ski expeditions across the pack ice to the North Geographic Pole and each year brings new surprises -- severe storms rarely seen in these parts, vast tracts of first-year ice where there should be years of accumulation, pack ice drifting faster and farther than ever before.
The veneer of fractured ice over the Arctic Ocean is changing, disintegrating before my eyes. Over the last twenty years more than 5000 kilometers of ice has passed beneath my skis during numerous expeditions to both poles, as well as treks across Greenland, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Ellesmere Island and the Patagonian Icecap. Add to this multiple voyages and flights to both Antarctica and the Arctic and I have come to feel part of the polar landscape. I've developed somewhat of a polar sense, and I sense there is something afoot that I don't much like. Read full article »