Art. XLVI.—Problems of Arctic Exploration bearing upon Recent Attempts to reach the North Pole.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute.]
It would be useless to enumerate the expeditions that have set out to learn something of the land or lands which are within the bounds of the arctic circle, but more especially as to the spot which is geographically distinguished by the name of the north pole. The information which has been gathered as to the climate, currents, animal and vegetable life are of great value and interest to science, but these are even of less importance than the information that has been collected with respect to the past plant-life that must have existed in those inhospitable regions. I do not know whether anything of special value is to be gained by reaching the spot to which so many eyes have been turned for a long time past, but until success has been attained we may expect the devotees of science—if the travellers to such a place may be so termed—to strive by every means to reach the goal of their ambition. Many lives have already been sacrificed, but the ardour is still strong among the nations, and not long ago a novel expedition started from Spitzbergen in the hope of reaching the pole in a balloon.
The expedition is made up of three Swedes, named Andrée, Eckholm, and Strendberg, all ardent scientists and specialists. Andrée is the leader of the expedition, and he hopes to reach the pole in a balloon which has been specially constructed under his immediate supervision. The balloon was made in Paris, and is composed of three thicknesses of silk firmly glued together, the outside being covered with no less than five coatings of varnish. The balloon is enclosed in special netting, and from the suspension-ring there hangs a curiously constructed basket resembling a gondola. Here the adventurers are to live, and many curious arrangements and contrivances have been provided for the convenience of the travellers, and for the storage of provisions, instruments, and such other things as are considered needful for the requirements of the expedition. The balloon itself is 75 ft. from summit to mouth, and to the bottom of the basket 97 ft. The basket has a depth of about 5 ft., is circular in shape, and has a cover or lid made of wicker-work. The basket is provided with a single bedstead, the arrangement being such that one will sleep whilst the others are on duty. A special
apparatus has been devised whereby the party will be able to cook their food, the apparatus for this purpose being let down for 15 ft. or more below the basket. The apparatus will be lighted by simply pulling a string, and when the cooking is finished the fire will be put out by the pulling of another string. These precautions are deemed necessary to insure the safety of the expedition. The total weight of the balloon, with occupants, appliances, and food, will be about 5 tons.
One of the most interesting things in connection with the expedition is the letter which has been issued by the Russian Government to the people of North Russia and Siberia directing attention to the possible arrival of a balloon and its occupants. Drawings acccompany the letter, and the people everywhere are enjoined to render every help to the strangers to get out of the basket in safety, “for the air-globe cannot harm even small children.” Should the globe be seen the people are to notice the time, the direction of its flight and of the wind. Finally, the people are exhorted not to be frightened by the globe, but to help the men in every way in their descent from the sky to the ground, and they are to do this “for the good and merciful God and the mighty Czar.”
The expedition left Gothenburg in the ship “Virgo,” and was to proceed to Tromsäe, in Norway, near latitude 70° N., and a few minutes westward of the 20th meridian east of Greenwich. The ship was then to proceed with the party to Spitzbergen, and there the necessary preparations were to be made for the inflation of the balloon. I am sure every one who takes the least interest in science, and especially geographical, geological, and meteorological, must wish the expedition every success; but, for my own part, I think it must end either in failure or disaster. My reasons for this opinion will appear in the course of this paper.
One important point in favour of the expedition is the fact that the work will be carried on at the best season of the year in the “land of the midnight sun,” as from the time of the arrival of the voyageurs at Spitzbergen, which they were expected to reach about the 20th of June, the sun must appear in the sky at an elevation varying from 33° at meridian to 13° at midnight. This will be of immense advantage in the matter of observation within the area which separates Spitzbergen from the pole.
The special difference between former expeditions and that headed by Andrée is in the means employed to reach the desired goal. As far as is known, the Arctic Ocean for the greater portion of the year is a mass of ice, and certainly
there are large areas of it which are constantly frozen. Nor-denskjold, in his “Voyage of the ‘Vega,’” speaks of five varieties of polar ice as occurring in the Arctic Ocean, and it may be taken for granted that the area within a few degrees of the pole is ice-bound the whole year round. The limited communication between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans is such that comparatively little heat is carried from the latter to the former by means of currents, the only communication between them being by way of Behring Strait, which in its narrowest part, between East Cape in Asia and Cape Prince of Wales in America, is barely forty miles wide. No doubt much heat is carried by means of currents from the Atlantic, but there are physical conditions in operation within the circumpolar area which it will be necessary to consider in this connection.
Dr. Nansen's route to the pole in the “Fram,” in which undertaking he has been to a large extent successful, was to follow along the northern shores of Europe and Asia as far as 130° E. of Greenwich, then turn north-east until 150° of E. longitude is reached, then proceed due north in the direction of the pole, and, crossing the meridian of Greenwich between latitude 87° and 88°, return to Europe by way of Jan Mayen Island. Nansen's theory was that a warm current passes along the north-west of the New Siberian Islands, and trends in the direction of the pole, meeting the Atlantic currents somewhere between Spitzbergen and Greenland. This theory he based on the circumstance that portions of the American ship “Jeanette,” which was crushed among the ice-floes in 1881 near the New Siberian Islands, were found three years afterwards by some Eskimo on the east coast of northern Greenland. Nansen's return under great hardships and the return of the “Fram” fully bear out the truth of this surmise; but it appears to me that the whole of the polar area between 85° and the pole can be nothing more than a mass of surface-ice, and that whatever movements take place in the waters below they are necessarily very slow, owing to the equability in the temperature of the waters at all depths.
Under the most favourable conditions it is only for a very short period that the seas known at Barent's, Kara, and Nordenskjold, to the north of Europe and Asia, are free from ice. Nordenskjold, in his celebrated voyage, was forced to go into winter quarters on the 28th September, 1888, and it was not until the 18th July of the following year that he found the sea sufficiently free from ice to enable him to proceed. At that time his ship was in latitude 67° N., or 23° from the pole. Now, the ice towards the pole was still a compact mass, and as far as is known there is no land in the line between
Behring Strait and the pole. This vast area has little communication with the warmer oceans towards the south, and, enclosed as it is almost like an inland sea, there is every possibility that the movements of the waters are the reverse of what they are in the warmer oceans, owing to the fact that within the torrid and temperate zones the waters diminish in temperature from the surface downwards, whilst within the polar zone the reverse is the case—that is, the water increases in temperature from the surface downwards.
It is difficult to understand how the area surrounding the poles can be other than the coldest portions of the earth's surface, as it is there that the heat of the sun is least throughout the year. At no period of the year does the sun reach an elevation of more than 23 ½° above the horizon, and if we suppose the polar or circumpolar area to extend to latitude 80° N., the highest elevation of the sun, then, will not exceed 33 ½° at the time of meridian, whilst at midnight in summer the elevation will be 13 ½°—in other words, the sun's elevation during the northern summer will vary within the circumpolar area between 13 ½° and 33 ½°.
Let us compare this with the elevation of the sun in the latitude corresponding with Napier during the course of a year. In summer the highest elevation is reached on the 21st and 22nd December, when the sun is on the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23 ½° to the south of the equator. The latitude of Napier is about 39 ½° S., so the sun will appear to us about 16° to the north of our zenith, or at an elevation above the horizon of 74°. In winter the sun's elevation at midday will be 27°, or 47° lower than at midsummer. This will be on the 21st and 22nd June, when the sun is at the Tropic of Cancer, or at the time of highest elevation over the Northern Hemisphere.
Now, the period of sunlight within the circumpolar area is equal to that within any other similar number of degrees of latitude. Everywhere there are on the average twelve hours of sunlight for every day of the year; but the question to be considered is not one of light, but of heat. The earth depends on the sun for its heat, and, whilst both heat and light are derived from the sun, the intensity of the one and the quantity of the other are very different in the different zones. The heat-rays from the sun are diffused wherever light penetrates, and, as far as we know, every object in space must receive some of those rays in a greater or less degree. The nearer the object to the direct influence of heat and light the greater we may suppose is the intensity of heat-rays and light-rays upon it, but it will be manifest that the quantity of heat and light received may be modified greatly by the shape of the object. In any case, a source of light and heat acting
on an object from the outside cannot affect that object as a whole under exactly the same conditions, whether the object be moveable or the reverse. The sun acts on the earth daily, and, indeed, momentarily, but each moment a different portion of the surface comes under the influence of the sun's rays. The circle of illumination to-day on the earth's surface, though the same in size or bigness as it was yesterday, is not, the same in position, and to-morrow's circle will be different from to-day's. The angle of incidence of the earth in relation to the sun varies every moment as the earth moves in its ecliptic round the sun. Were the earth to present a vertical plane surface to the sun the same number of heat-rays would fall equally over each degree of latitude. Everywhere the rays would reach the earth at the same incidence, and, coming from the same source, the same surface temperatures would result.
But this is what does not take place. The earth's surface is rounded, and during its revolutionary movement about the sun a special area of it is constantly being brought within its immediate influence. This area is the torrid zone, and it is this area that receives, space for space, more rays than any other portion of the earth's surface, for the nearer the area to the torrid zone the more heat-rays are received from the sun compared with any similar area more remote. Thus the circumpolar area, if compared with a similar area within the torrid zone, would receive much less heat from the sun, owing to the absorption of such rays by the atmosphere. Within the torrid zone the estimate is made that about 8 per cent. of the heat-rays which would otherwise reach the earth are absorbed by the atmosphere on their way, whilst 83 per cent. of heat-rays are absorbed within the polar and circumpolar areas. In other words, taking area for area within the torrid and frigid zones, about 92 per cent of the heat-rays from the sun fall upon the surface in the former, and only 17 per cent. in the latter. The results under such conditions must necessarily produce wide contrasts in the physical conditions existing, more especially in the case of moving water and the water-products, rain, ice, snow.
The temperature of the waters within the torrid zone may be set down at 80°, for, according to Wharton, it is 78° in the Atlantic and 82° in the Pacific, whilst the temperature within the frigid zone is certainly less than 32°. Curiously, below 800 fathoms the temperature is never more than 35° in the torrid zone, and may be set down at 30° in the frigid, although recent tests show that a higher temperature prevails than this, even at 2,000 fathoms, in the Arctic Ocean. The argument, however, which it is desired to enforce is not affected thereby. The difference in temperature of the
surface-waters within the warm and cold oceans respectively has a range of 50°, whilst the range of temperature between the waters at great depths in the same oceans is not more than 5°. It is curious and important to notice how the surface-and depth-temperatures of the waters tend to approximate each other in proceeding from the equator to the poles. The surface-temperature at the equator is 80°, and within the arctic circle 32° or lower, whilst at 800 fathoms the temperature falls to 35° at the equator, and to 30° or more within the circumpolar area.
It follows from these facts—first, that surface-movements of the waters of the ocean are greater than depth-movements; and, second, that depth-movements in the warmer oceans are much more pronounced than within the cold oceans. These laws have an important bearing upon the past and present condition of the earth's surface, as it must be evident that these conditions have not always existed.
I have purposely dwelt on this interesting topic at some length, as it is highly suggestive in connection with the nebular theory of the earth, as it is also in the matter of aerial movements. No one who considers the nebular theory as bearing on the life-history of the earth but must be struck with the harmony of the records that have come to us through the brave men who have striven to solve the mystery of the north pole. Those records imply a great past in the life-history of the now frigid zone, but they also imply a growth, a development, and a descension. The time was when the life-possibilities in those inhospitable regions were greater than they are now, and the question must be asked how the changes in activities have been brought about. I think it may be assumed that the depthmovements of the ocean were much more pronounced in former times than they are at present, for the waters were then heated more by convection than by conduction. When the earth was many degrees warmer than now the surface-contrasts were not so wide, and, as a consequence, surface-movements, like currents which are produced by heat, were not so pronounced.
Let me illustrate what I wish to convey by means of two simple experiments. First, take a bottle—an ordinary water-bottle will do—and fill it about one-third full with water at a temperature of 60°, the water being slightly coloured with a blue tint. Let this be followed by a similar quantity of water tinted red at a temperature of 100°, and then fill up with boiling water having a green tint. In the second experiment reverse the order of filling the bottle by putting in the boiling water first, and then observe the results in each case. In the first illustration the movements of the water will be comparatively
slow, because water at 60° is denser than at 100°, and at 100° than at 212°. Water heats slowly by conduction, and the tendency is to move as a surface-water in the direction of the boundary where the temperature is least. In the second bottle the hottest water at the bottom is less dense than that at the top, and they are in a condition of unstable equilibrium. The movements here must be up and down rather than up and horizontal. These two examples illustrate the movements of the waters of the ocean as I conceive them in times past and present.
Surface-movements are greater now than they were in former times, whilst the reverse is the case in the matter of depth-movements. But the surface-waters as they proceed from the torrid zone outwards are constantly parting with their heat, and as the waters as currents approach the colder zones they also approach the depth-temperatures of the waters in those zones. Were the waters of the earth of the same temperature and density there would be no current-movements either vertical or horizontal, and were the earth's surface a plane vertical to the ecliptic there would be no horizontal movements of the atmosphere—that is, there would be no winds, as no other movement would be possible but one at right angles to the surface, or what, in other words, might be termed an up-and-down movement. And this brings me back to the water and air oceans within the torrid zone. That portion of the Arctic Ocean which is embraced within the circumpolar zone extending from 5° to 10° may be supposed to be almost free from currents, owing to the fact of greater density combined with the circumstance of the near approximation in temperature of the surface and deep waters. Whatever movements there may be must have a tendency downwards, and thence in the direction of the warmer areas; for it must be remembered that the waters of the frigid zone are not now fully maintained by the quantity of solar heat given to that zone, but rather by the surplusage that finds its way to the frigid zone from the other zones by means of aqueous and atmospheric agencies. Thus, for example, the movement of waters from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans towards the colder zones is an important means of conveying heat, but the same thing may be said with respect to the large rivers that pour their waters into the Arctic Ocean from Europe, Asia, and America. These warm areas of inflow occupy cardinal points with respect to each other on a map of that ocean. Thus, Behring Sea is opposite to the opening into the Atlantic Ocean, and the great Mackenzie River may be set down as being opposite the Obi and other large rivers of Asia.
Warm areas were specially noticed by Nordenskjold, and
it was through the channels of partially fresh water that he pushed his way along the Asiatic coast. The question is whether these warm areas from the rivers tend to form currents in the direction of the pole, and whether they supply some of the varieties of ice which are mentioned by Nordenskjold as occurring along the margin of the ice-pack in the Arctic Ocean. Fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt, and it may be that, as the fresh and warmer water of the rivers pushes northward, an open water-way may be produced in summer in the direction of the pole; but it is impossible to suppose that the movements can be regular and continuous, seeing that the physical conditions are undergoing seasonal modification both with regard to ocean- and river-waters.
Now as to aerial conditions: These, it appears to me, are even less favourable to a successful voyage to the pole than the oceanic. During the time that the “Vega” was wintered in latitude 67° N. the temperature fell as low as 45.7° below the zero of centigrade, and for months it appears that the cold was more severe than anything experienced in more southerly latitudes. But this low range of temperature, we may suppose, would be greatly exceeded by ascending in a balloon over the areas where tests were taken. Within the tropics an ascent of less than 20,000 ft. brings us to the conditions of an arctic climate, but it would be difficult to say what temperature would be probable at an elevation of 2,000 ft. above a spot where the thermometer showed 46° of frost, centigrade.
Andrée and his fellow-passengers held that they could regulate their balloon so as to keep within 400 ft. or 500 ft. of the surface. But the cold even at this moderate elevation would be likely to increase in intensity as the pole is approached, and it is doubtful whether life could be sustained within the polar area at an elevation of some hundreds of feet above the surface. It has been pointed out how the ocean temperatures at great depths tend to coincide or approximate each other in all zones, but the same thing takes place in the atmosphere, with this difference: that we know absolutely nothing as to temperature for heights beyond 40,000 ft. Suppose, however, that an imaginary line is drawn from an elevation of 20,000 ft. at the equator to the sea-level at 80° of north latitude, it would represent roughly the descending line of corresponding temperature in the atmosphere, or, say, the freezing-point on a centigrade thermometer. Now, it will be manifest that, if the freezing-point at the equator, or within the tropics for that matter, is constant in the atmosphere at an elevation of 20,000 ft., and the freezing-point in the shade is constant at 80° N. latitude at the sea-level, just as in the
water there is a tendency to equality of temperature which becomes coincident at certain depths, so the same tendency is met with in the atmosphere, and apparently becomes coincident within the polar area.
Air is but slightly heated by the passage of the sun's rays through it, but when the heat has reached the earth's surface the air becomes heated by contact. It then expands, its density is less, and, as a consequence, it rises. The direction of the movement is either vertical or vertical with a horizontal tendency, and just as the water movements are regulated as to rate and direction by the differences or contrasts in temperature, so the aerial movements are regulated in a similar manner. The deep waters in the temperate and frigid zones might be expected to move towards the warmer areas exactly in accordance with the characteristic temperatures of the waters of the ocean at all depths, just as was shown must occur under the conditions named in the examples quoted. The vertical height of the snow-line diminishes as the polar region is reached, it being regulated by the amount of surplus heat available in each zone. The temperature scale from the equator is a descending one between it and the pole, whether that scale be taken on the surface or at any elevation whatever above the surface. If the surplus heat which is supplied to the different zones were to be equalised by atmospheric distribution as it passes away by radiation into space the same atmospheric temperatures would result, but the very fact of there being atmospheric differences of temperature at the same elevation in the several zones shows that the heat-rays which are emitted from the surface in each zone are mostly, and perhaps wholly, used in the zone where such rays reach the earth.
Scales of temperature can be drawn at any parallel of latitude to represent a vertical and horizontal measure of heat, but the alteration of temperature in the vertical scale is much more rapid than in a horizontal one; but this could not be were the heat from the earth's surface conveyed by the atmosphere in a horizontal rather than in a vertical direction with a slightly horizontal tendency. In connection with these scales representing vertical and horizontal temperatures it is needful to keep two things clearly in view—first, the barometric pressure on the earth's surface may be said to be the same for all degrees of temperature between the equator and the polar area; second, the pressure of the atmosphere at freezing-point varies from the equator to the polar area from 15in. at the equator to 30 in. within the frigid zone—in other words, freezing-point at the equator would be at 20,000 ft. elevation and a barometric pressure of about 15 in., whilst within the polar area freezing-point would be at sea-level, and
the barometric pressure at 30 in. or more. As in the case of water, the atmospheric temperature has a wide range or contrast at the equator, and constantly diminishes its range as the poles are approached. We have no means of knowing what the temperature in the atmosphere would be at an elevation of 20,000 ft. above the polar area, but certainly it would be so low that life such as we are acquainted with could not exist there.
Each of the zones has a certain quantity of heat-rays available, and no more, and when those rays have done their work on the surface, whether on the land or on the water, they tend to pass back again through the atmosphere, and are subsequently diffused in space. But the work which is performed by the returning obscure rays in either zone appears to be directly proportional to the radiant heat received from the sun by the zone. And the varying height of the snow-line from the equator to the polar circle seems to suggest the truth of this statement. When the air within the torrid zone ascends, laden as it is with moisture and heat, it has a definite work to perform within the atmosphere of that zone. The difference of elevation in the snow-line of each zone represents the total surplus heat which the atmosphere of the zone has been able to perform owing to the excess or deficiency of heat-rays in the zone compared with the adjacent zone, and I am doubtful whether the heat taken away from a zone by ascending currents is greater than the heat received in the same zone by the incoming currents. Suppose, for example, that the temperature of the torrid zone were increased by 20°, what would be the atmospheric effect on the other zones? Aerial movements would be more rapid; evaporation would increase; heavier rainfall within the tropics would ensue; the elevation of the snow-line would be raised; and the seasonal contrasts between the several zones would be more marked than they are now. Of necessity the winds would increase, but the balance would be maintained between lower incoming and upper outgoing currents, no matter what modification in the temperature might take place.
It has already been explained how wide the difference is between the heat-rays received in the different zones, and when it is remembered that the capacity of the atmosphere for moisture, other things being equal, depends directly upon temperature, it will be seen at once that the vapour from the torrid zone can hardly reach beyond the limits of its own zone, as evaporation in each zone will continue everywhere until saturation-point is reached, or, which amounts to the same thing, the natural tendency in each zone is to satisfy the atmospheric and aqueous conditions under the constantly modifying factor of heat. Thus air of high
temperature and density has a high capacity for aqueous vapour, but these conditions are never met with in combination within the arctic zone, while they are constant within some portions of the torrid zone. If we apply these facts to the distribution of heat on the earth's surface it will not be difficult to understand the intensity of cold experienced by arctic voyagers, for, though movement is constant in the water and air oceans, the general effects produced by the movements are very small outside each zonal district or centre. The trade winds, monsoons, and, in fact, winds of all kinds, are the outcome of differences of atmospheric temperature. As we approach the polar regions the contrasts of temperature grow less and less. The temperature being low, the vapour or moisture in the atmosphere is also low.
It is a curious thing that Nordenskjold, in his “Voyage of the ‘Vega,’” makes no reference to rain during the period of his wintering in the Arctic Ocean, although he appears to have paid much attention to the weather. In vol. i., p. 482, the following reference occurs: “The weather during winter was very stormy, and the direction of the wind nearest the surface was almost constantly between north-west and north-north-west, but above there appeared an atmospheric current uninterrupted from the south-east. This when it sank to the surface brought with it air that was warmer and less saturated with moisture.”
A similar remark applies in the case of Dr. Kane. I do not remember a single instance in which he records the falling of rain during his long stay within the arctic zone. In vol. ii., p. 55, reference is made to “that strange phenomenon the warm south and south-east winds, which came upon us in January and did not pass away till the middle of this month. And even after it had gone the weather continued for some days to reflect its influence. The thermometer seldom fell below—40°, and stood some times as high as—30°.” Further on Dr. Kane says, “There is much to be studied in these atmospheric changes. There is a seeming connection between the increasing cold and the increasing moonlight, which has sometimes forced itself on my notice.” The valuable tables of temperature which are given by Dr. Kane (vol. ii., Appendix xii., p. 415) show the remarkable contrasts of temperature which are met with in high latitudes. For the year 1854 the mean temperature of the air was—5.01°. The highest temperature experienced was on the 4th July, when the thermometer registered 53.9°. The minimum temperature was reached on the 5th February, when—68° of cold was registered; thus the range of temperature experienced in latitude 78° N. was 123.20°.
I have not Dr. Nansen's “Journey across Greenland” at hand, but I do not remember any reference made to rain in his remarkable journey. Snow-storms were not uncommon, but of rain there was none.
I have purposely quoted these facts to show that the climatic conditions as tested by different travellers go to prove how small must be the benefits derived by the cold zones from either the torrid or temperate, by means of currents and winds.
The water of the torrid zone is of an average temperature of 80°, and this is maintained directly from the solar heat received. Of the solar rays which reach the earth most of them are used to maintain the temperature of the zone—in fact, the heat of each zone may be said to be directly proportional to the number of heat-rays received by the zone, just as the amount of aqueous vapour in each zone is proportional to the temperature, other things being equal. The conditions which seemingly exist within the polar area are opposite to the conditions which prevail in warmer areas. The surface-water or ice is colder than the stratum immediately underneath, and it seems that the movement would be downward with a southerly tendency, and that this form of motion is necessitated by the fact that the incoming waters, instead of being heated, are actually cooled as they move poleward, whilst the several strata of underlying waters are forced to move southward awry to supply the place of the lower areas which are constantly moving towards the equatorial regions. In the same way the atmosphere within the polar area is very unlike that within the warm zones. The air is dry mostly, as the temperature is not sufficient to maintain much vapour. But dry air is very diathermanous, and heat is transmitted through it with little or no alteration of temperature. Here we have physical differences existing in the warm and cold zones, and these differences are such that they require the closest attention at the hands of scientists.
As to temperature, direction of winds, the existence of animal life, the possibility even of living in the air under the conditions proposed by Andrée, very little is known. Neither Nansen nor Andrée, I am afraid, will reach the pole, at least if the conditions such as I have suggested above actually exist within the polar area. But, whatever may be the results of Andrée's enterprise, there can only be one wish for the brave men who have started on such a romantic and hazardous voyage. They carry their lives in their hands, for they may be stranded on ice-fields, with no power of getting rid of their difficulties. With dogs, sledges, and snow-shoes Nansen was able to cross Greenland, but he was sure of ice or land for his journey. Andrée and his companions have no
boat, and no means of returning should any accident befall their balloon by the way. And even should fortune's wind waft them to the pole they dare not allow their craft to fall. Well might the circular that has been issued to the Russian people on behalf of the expedition urge those who might see the balloon “not to be frightened by the globe, but to help the men in every way.” Whether they succeed or fail, all must hope that they survive to tell of their experiences in a lifeless world of ice and cold—a world that once was as active as our own, and which offers a type of what the temperate and torrid zones will be in the ages that are to come.
[Note.—Since this paper was written the news has come to hand that Andrée's project had probably ended in failure, and that Nansen had returned, after reaching beyond the 85th parallel of north latitude.]