Arctic tourists evacuated amid melting and unprecedented warming

If the 21 tourists evacuated from the Baffin Islands yesterday weren't convinced that we're near a climate change tipping point they are now.

According to a Canwest new service story out this morning the tourists were evacuated from the Auyuittuq National Park:

“Thawing permafrost, eroding lakeshores, a melting glacier and fears of flash floods at a national park on Baffin Island have forced the evacuation of 21 tourists and led officials to declare much of the wilderness reserve off-limits until geologists and ice experts can assess what appear to be the latest dramatic effects of climate change in Canada's Arctic.”

Canada Parks official Pauline Scot said, “this summer's events are beyond anything we're used to. This is no doubt a result of climate change.”

With a report about the break-up of the Arctic's Ward Hunt Ice Shelf earlier this week and reports a few weeks ago about the further disintegration of the massive Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctic, I'll say it again… something isn't right at the Poles.

You would think by now that such events would've gone past being something more than just quirky news stories to read with our Starbucks. The signs from the poles are a chorus of calls to action, reasons to demand action now from government and industry to clean up their act - to put in place tough regulations on the greenhouse gas we're pumping into the air.

How much more disturbing do the headlines need to be?

As an explorer I've experienced firsthand the freakish effects of a warming planet in the South Pole and this type of news hits home for me. Maybe the answer is that people need to feel the effects of climate change on their doorstep before they will understand the seriousness of the situation we're facing.

Unfortunately, if we wait for everyone to be hit right between the eyes, I'm afraid it'll probably be too late.

On November 8, 2008 Todd will attempt to become the first American in history to reach the South Pole, solo and unaided.

Sign up for Todd's Expedition E-lerts and keep track of Todd's Expedition with live updates throughout the journey.


Pang’s a long way from either Pole but this has been an awful spring and now summer for them. Too much rain, eh. Summer rain, an Iqaluit thing but less so as you edge north. I doubt you’d have to convince anyone who’d go to Auyuittuq in the summer about global warming. Now likely those who go there, you have to be well heeled or adventurous and still well heeled, trying to get a glimpse of the beauty of that place so far south from the north pole before its gone. I wonder how the air-strip in the middle of Pang is holding up?

So much for the Ice hotel I think they have a few of those around the world or maybe just one but i’ve seen it on TV enough times. I’d like to stay there some time i think it would be interesting laying on those beds. Far from any hotels Spain has which is where we went on our vacation.