Willis Group Holdings announced that it has teamed up “with teenage explorer and climate campaigner Parker Liautaud to attempt a World Record South Pole speed expedition that will help explore the impact of climate change on the planet.”
The young explorer – he’s 19 – “aims to break the speed record for transiting Antarctica from the coast to the South Pole on foot and will become the youngest man ever to accomplish this feat.” Along the way the expedition will collect snow samples, and will be followed with equipment provided by technology company EMC to “create date visualizations to engage the public in a better understanding of the science behind climate change and its importance in society.”
Liautaud is a sophomore at Yale University. He has “already skied to the North Pole three times and has undertaken research for leading institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the University of Alberta,” Willis said.
“His thirst for knowledge and passion for adventure, supplemented by a rigorous training regime in the months ahead, will prepare him for this extreme expedition across the world’s harshest and most unforgiving terrain. If those stakes were not enough, Parker and his expedition partner Doug Stoupwill have to pass the Trans-Antarctic Mountains, which at their highest point reach 2,528 meters (14,855 feet) close to height of Mount Blanc.”
“On the 3rd December 2013, I leave the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to ski 397 miles (640 km) unsupported from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in the hope of breaking the 22-day speed record,” Liautaud said. “At 19 years old I hope to also become the youngest man to ski to the South Pole. Along the way I will be collecting snow samples which we hope will provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of Antarctic climate.”
Willis Group CEO Dominic Casserley commented: “We live in an increasingly fragile and constantly changing world and Willis is on the front line helping people and businesses to rebuild when disaster strikes. Truly to build resilience to extreme weather risks, we need a detailed understanding of our climate.
“Using the past as well as advanced mathematics as tools for predicting future patterns is fundamental to the insurance industry, and this is why we are proud to be part of an expedition that uncovers new data on historic climate patterns and shares this with scientists around the world. The heart of this expedition is closely aligned to Willis’ everyday business: using analytics and cutting edge science to overcome challenges and build resilience to risks. We look forward to cheering Parker on as he embarks on what will be not just an extraordinary adventure, but a true test of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.”
Source: Willis Group Holdings plc