Parker Liautaud and EMC attempt to set an Antarctic record



Today 19 year-old polar explorer Parker Liautaud will embark on a quest to set a new speed record traveling from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, a walk that will cover 397 miles. To set a new world record, Parker will need to travel 18 miles per day for 22 days, all this while facing temperatures as low as -76°F.

The trek will take in a huge volume of data about Antarctica including, conditions along the route, the physical condition of Parker himself while traveling through the subzero weather and data produced by social media observers around the world.

The data collected during the expedition will be interpreted to help put this Antarctic adventure in context. A series of visualisations will be created that cover the following:

  • Antarctic Climate: revealing changes in temperature, snowfall, ice coverage, sea level, and other conditions
  • Social Listening: is all about what the world is saying about climate change on Twitter, blogs, communities, message forums, and other social platforms
  • Parker’s Biometrics will provide information on how Parker Liautaud’s body reacts to a 398-mile (640-km) journey to the South Pole

There are several key areas which will be a specific focus. One of these will be to deploy and test a new type of Antarctic automatic weather station that relays meteorological data every 30 minutes to identify continent-wide and local trends in weather and climate.

Analysis of snow samples collected at various depths will provide ground-breaking information on climate dynamics and trends during the last 50 years. Roughly 40 percent of Liautaud’s route includes regions never sampled for this purpose and so will provide never before seen information and insight.

The third key focus will be in the study of tritium levels in Antarctic snow. Using the same snow samples, researchers will study Tritium, a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen that is used to accurately date water and ice up to 150 years old. By vastly expanding the data available, samples will contribute to contextualising the climate records being extracted from Antarctica.

The expedition will allow the role Big Data has in understanding climate change and the world’s changing environment to be explored. The ultimate aim of the expedition is to gain a greater understanding of our changing world while testing the limits of resilience the human body can tolerate in a tough environment.

To follow this expedition, keep an eye on the EMC Twitter and Facebook profile as well as the Willis Resilience Expedition website –

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