End of expedition | Law

End of expedition

Dangerous ice conditions have ended an attempt by Associate Professor Rosemary Rayfuse from the University of New South Wales Law Faculty to ski from the North Pole to Canada.

Professor Rayfuse, who undertook the expedition to raise awareness of polar governance issues arising from climate change and global warming, was stopped in her tracks by the issues she aimed to highlight.

According to reports - and to our own experience - the extremely warm temperatures this year have resulted in major changes to the ice sheet, leaving vast tracks of open water and huge areas of ice rubble, says Professor Rayfuse. The ice was unable to freeze, leaving soft and dangerous ice throughout the expedition.

Warmer temperatures also had adverse effects on the atmospheric conditions causing endless days of white outs and blizzards. Temperatures that should have been -30C to -40C were instead about -10C

The expedition had travelled for 10 days covering 125km before the team leader made the decision to evacuate.

We had received very unsettling information from the Russians and the Canadians, said Professor Rayfuse. The helicopter that collected us also picked up two other teams - 28 people and 28 sleds all together - and flew us back to Borneo, the Russian ice station, where we began the expedition.

Professor Rayfuse will share her experience at a public lecture next month in which she will also highlight these new threats to polar governance presented by global climate change, increasing human impact and technological developments.