Alain and Dixie are Back in Belgium

Arrival on the Greenlandic coast

Arrival on the Greenlandic coast

© International Polar Foundation

Thursday June 14, Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer pitched their tent along the northern coast of Greenland. Friday, the two men were able to rest a little and enjoy some of the extraordinary landscapes that these uninhabited regions offer. On Saturday June 16, meteorological conditions were particularly good both in Resolute Bay, where the Twin Otter was to take off from, and at the Arctic Arc campsite. After over 7 hours of flight, the plane landed on the marked out runway that Alain and Dixie had prepared.

After several months of solitude, they met up with their spouses and the film crew. On the way back, the Arctic Arc team stopped over in Thule, Greenland, to take care of some paper work. Wednesday June 20, in the late afternoon, Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer were greeted at the Zaventem airport in Brussels by their families, their friends, their admirers and the press.

By accomplishing this expedition, connecting Siberia to Greenland, Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer have achieved a historical crossing. As seen throughout the expedition, Alain and Dixie performed a truly athletic feat. Indeed, to be able to progress in such extreme conditions, it is necessary to be in extremely good physical shape and to have a strong spirit. It is difficult to realize the level of this feat. Let's remind you that Alain and Dixie have, for 106 days, walked 10 hours a day on irregular sea ice, while pulling sledges of over 100 kg in temperatures nearing -40°C. And this is without mentioning the storms and blizzards which occurred almost daily.

Because of the inexorable sea ice melt, it is probable that this itinerary will never be neither attempted nor achieved again. Indeed, year after year, the open water leads which the two men have had to cross hundreds of times are growing in number.

"First, you should know that in the Arctic" explains Thierry Fichefet, a climatology professor at the Catholic University of Leuven (UCL), "the observed warming over the past few years has been twice as important as anywhere else on the Earth. In parallel, we have observed a substantial reduction in the Arctic sea ice extent."

"Furthermore, climate models show that, if we continue to emit CO2 in the atmosphere at the current rate, the Arctic sea ice should completely disappear during the summer months in 50 to 60 years from now".

"Nowadays, we are practically sure that the observed global warming over these past decades is mainly due to human activity and to greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Evaluations have been carried out by the GIEC group of experts (Group of International Experts on Climate), and the group is adamant about this."

These worrisome statements go to show that it is important to act rapidly by allowing the young generations to have access to scientific knowledge concerning the Polar Regions and climate change. Furthermore, it is also important to offer them the possibility to participate and to carry out concrete actions destined to diminish the human impact on the environment. The educational projects initiated by Alain Hubert and the International Polar Foundation follow these objectives.

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