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Who Discovered the North Pole?

As far back as the 16th century, researchers had speculated on the possibility that the North Pole existed. Based on known facts about the North Pole, it was called the Open Polar Sea in the 19th century. The question as to who got there first is subject to debate.

Early Expeditions

During the 1800s, several explorers tried to reach the North Pole. In 1827, British naval officer William Edward Parry tried, but was forced to turn back. In 1871, an expedition led by American Charles Hall also failed.

In 1895 Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen got to 86 degrees 14’ North prior to being forced back. The Italian whaler Stella Polare (led by Luigi Amedeo) got to 86 degrees and 34’.

The Early 1900s and Robert Peary

The facts about the North Pole expeditions started being disputed around this time. The American Frederick Cook declared he was able to reach the North Pole on April 21, 1908. But his claim is not taken seriously by historians due to lack of supporting evidence.

The American naval engineer Robert Peary claimed he reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909. However this claim is still being disputed. One of the objections was that none of Peary’s men were trained for navigation. Hence they could not authenticate their actual position. Peary’s journey was also three times quicker than any previously undertaken.

While Peary said they traveled by direct line, this was contradicted by one of his companions, Mathew Henson. Henson claimed that the team took numerous shortcuts and had to take numerous detours.

The facts about the North Pole and Robert Peary became more controversial in 2005. The British explorer Tom Avery along with four men recreated Peary’s journey. They used the same equipment that Peary used as well as the route. They reached the North Pole in 36 days and 22 hours, five hours quicker than Peary.

There is also controversy as to the first flight over the North Pole. The most frequent claim was that of US naval officer Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett. The two made the flight on May 9, 1926. However this claim is being disputed as well.

Climate

Several facts about the North Pole’s climate have been discovered. During the winter (January) the temperature reaches -45 F to -15 F. Summer takes place from June to August. The temperatures are about 32 F, or the freezing point. It isn’t as cold as the South Pole. The reason is that it is situated in the middle of an ocean, which locks in heat.

The average sea ice is 3 meters thick. In recent years the thickness has decreased due to global warming and climate change. Scientists also believe that the ice around the Arctic Ocean will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Although the facts about the North Pole’s discovery are being disputed, the facts concerning its situation are not. The ice around it continues to decrease and this could have considerable effects on the environment.

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