Hurrah! Intrepid explorer Pen Hadow and his Catlin Arctic Survey team are off the polar ice cap and safe and well. This is a huge relief to those many of us well-wishers concerned that they were doomed to die either by frostbite, attack by one of the numerous killer polar bears that stalk the region, or shame that their expedition had turned out to be such a Scott-tastic flop.

They set out to the high arctic 73 days ago full of high hopes. They were going to tramp all the way to the North Pole. (But were frustrated by the unseasonal cold.) They were going to march 1000 km (they managed 434). Above all, they were going to raise awareness of "climate change" by drilling lots of holes in the polar ice cap so as to show how worryingly thin it is, and in how imminent danger of doom. (But their equipment broke in the freezing temperatures and anyway, as Christopher Booker reported the other day, there are US Army buoys which already do this job perfectly well and have found that since last March the ice has thickened by "at least half a metre").

And now to cap it all (ho ho), comes the still more tragic news that the Arctic isn't warming up dramatically after all. According to figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute - as posted by Steven Goddard on the inestimable Watts Up With That site - Arctic mean temperatures have barely changed since the start of their records in 1958. The Arctic was in fact warmer in the 1940s than it is now, but cooled between 1940 and 1980.

"For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I pray that we will heed the findings of the Catlin arctic survey," said the Prince of Wales when he launched what he called this "remarkably important project."

For once HRH and I are in complete agreement. Thanks to this expedition's selfless heroism, we now know that:

1. The Arctic is extremely parky.

2. Even parkier in fact than we could ever have suspected.

3. We can put our melting ice cap terror on hold for a while.

4. And our fears about melting polar bears.

5. Drinks all round, I say. Creme de Menthe frappe, anyone?