THE SOUTH POLAR EXPEDITIONS.
From: Monthly Weather Review
We quote the following from an article published in the National
Geographic Magazine for October, 1901, by Dr. Georg Kollm, Editor and
Secretary of the Geographical Society of Berlin:
of the German Antarctic Expedition is the scientific exploration of the
South polar regions, particularly on its Indo-Atlantic side.
In pursuance of this object, it left Germany on the 11th of August,
1901, and is proceeding to Three Island Harbor, Royal Sound, in the
Kerguelen Islands, where a base station will be established. In
December, 1901, it is expected that the expedition will be ready for
its real work of exploration and will push on toward the south as far
as practicable. Should land be reached, a station will be founded and
maintained for a year and the ship wintered there. Whether any later
attempt to push still farther south will be made is not yet determined.
It will not, at all events, be undertaken unless the conditions should
prove particularly favorable.
The expedition has general
orders to remain until its tasks are satisfactorily executed, but in
any case not to remain beyond June, 1904, at which date it must report
at some harbor in communication with home. Should no news be received
of the expedition by the first of June of that year, it will be in
order to consider the expediency of fitting out a relief ship.
The leader of the expedition, Dr. Erich von Drygalski, of Berlin, was
appointed by His Majesty the Emperor, and has thoroughly studied the
problems of the south polar regions. He has been placed in absolute
control of the south polar ship Gauss,
its personnel and equipment. All the arrangements for the work to be
carried on from the time the ship left Germany are under his direction
and subject entirely to his control. Marine laws regulate the position
of the ship’s company toward its leader.
The expedition is
an undertaking of the German Empire and is fitted out through the
Secretary of State for the Interior, Herr Dr. Graf von
Posadowsky-Wehner. It sails under the Imperial Service flag, and its
officers and men bear special service designations authorized from the
highest quarters. It is thoroughly well equipped, both scientifically
and practically, for its mission. In addition to the funds provided by
the Empire, about 40,000 marks ($10,000) in small amounts have been
contributed by private societies. The interest aroused in the
expedition throughout the Empire has been very great, and has led to
the presentation of many gifts and offerings which will add much to the
efficiency of the equipment.
The scientific members of the
expedition are Prof. Dr. E. Vanhoffen, Kiel, for zoology and botany;
Dr. H. Gazert, Munich, physician and bacteriologist; Dr. E. Philippi,
Breslau, for geology and chemistry; Dr. F. Bidlingmaier, Lauffen, for
terrestrial magnetism and meteorology.
selected for the Kerguelen station consists of Dr. E. Werth, from
Munster, as biologist; Dr. K. Luyken, from Munich, as meteorologist,
and two seamen.
The Kerguelen station is chiefly intended
for magnetic and meteorological observations, which, as well as similar
work conducted by the German chief expedition, will be carried on in
accordance with the international program agreed on with England. This
program has been sent to all States having magnetic-meteorological
stations, as well as to the stations themselves, with the request for
cooperation. Many have already signified their readiness to do so. It
will also be followed at the station established by the Argentine
Republic on Staten Island. Cooperation in all other sciences with the
English expedition and all other expeditions to be sent out by other
States has been regulated in the best manner by the division into
departments of work.
Mention has already been made of the kite work that will be undertaken
by this expedition.1
On August 6, 1901, the Discovery
sailed from Cowes carrying the British National Antarctic Expedition
under command of Com. Robert F. Scott, R. N., with Dr. George Murray
as scientific director.
The proposed work of the party has
been carefully outlined by the presidents of the Royal Society and of
the Royal Geographical Society, and we quote from sections 1, 2, 10,
11, and 19 of their instructions to the commander of the expedition.
1.—The Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, with
assistance of His Majesty's Government, have fitted out an expedition
for scientific discovery and exploration in the antarctic regions, and
have entrusted you with the command.
2.—The objects of the expedition are: (a)
To determine, as far as possible, the nature, condition, and extent of
that portion of the south polar lands which is included in the scope of
your expedition, and (b) to
make a magnetic survey in the southern regions to the south of the
fortieth parallel, and to carry on meteorological, oceanographic,
geological, biological, and physical investigations and researches.
Neither of these objects is to be sacrificed to the other.
10.—You will see that the meteorological observations are
taken every two hours, and, also, in accordance with a suggestion from
the Berlin committee, every day at Greenwich noon. It is very
desirable that there should, if possible, be a series of
meteorological observations to the south of the seventy-fourth
11.—As regards magnetic work and meteorological
observations generally, you will follow the program arranged between
the German and British committees, with the terms of which you are
19—If, on the other hand, you should decide not
to winter, you will bear in mind that it is most important to maintain
scientific observations on land throughout the winter, and therefore,
if you are able, in consultation with the director, to find a suitable
place for a landing party between Cape Johnson and Cape Crozier, and
decide that such a party can be landed and left without undue risk, the
following instructions will apply:
You will land a party under the command of such person as you may
appoint. Such party shall include the director, the physicist and one
of the surgeons, and such other persons as you may consider desirable,
but no person is to be left without his consent in writing, which you
will be careful to obtain and preserve.
You will give every practicable assistance in establishing on land this
party, which you will supply with all available requisites, including [p.422] a
dwelling hut and observer's hut, three years' provisions, stores, fuel,
sledges, and dogs.
No landing party is to be established on any other part of the coast
than that between Cape Johnson and Cape Crozier, as it is above all
things essential that in case of accident the approximate position of
the party should be known.
Before it is so late as to endanger the freedom of your ship, you will
proceed north of the pack and carry out magnetic observations with
sounding and dredging over as many degrees of longitude (and as far
sooth) as possible, so long as the season and your coal permit, and
then return to your base station, whence you will telegraph your
arrival and await further instructions.
The National Geographic Magazine for November, 1901, has the following
The Antarctic, carrying the Swedish south polar expedition, sailed from
Gothenburg: October 16. Prof. Otto Nordenskjold, the leader of the
party, states that they will proceed to Buenos Ayres and Terra del
Fuego and then push as far south as is found possible. When winter
comes on a party of six under Nordenskjold will 1and and spend the
winter making scientific observations. The Antarctic meanwhile will
return to Terra del Fuego in charge of one of the scientists of the
party, who will conduct researches in that little explored country.
Thus, while the Germans are exploring the regions south of the Indian
Ocean and the British that south of the Pacific Ocean, Dr. Nordenskjold
and his party will be at work in the regions south of the Atlantic
Ocean. Professor Ohlin and M. K. A. Anderson go as zoologists, Dr.
Bodman as hydrographer, Dr. Skottoberg as botanist, and Dr. Ekolof as
With these three well equipped expeditions
in the antarctic regions and the numerous expeditions actively engaged
in the far north,2 we
may reasonably hope that our knowledge of geography and meteorology
will be materially advanced.
See Monthly Weather Review for April, 1901, p.177. [below]
See the National Geographic Magazine for May 1901, which
mentions eight arctic expeditions now in the far north, or planning
active work in the region.
Monthly Weather Review, September 1901, p.421-422. (source
THE KITE WORK OF THE GERMAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION.
We have received information that the German South Polar Expedition
will systematically make kite ascensions in the trade winds from aboard
ship during the southward journey, and continue the work in the
The expedition is fully equipped with aerial
apparatus, all substantially of the Weather Bureau pattern and the
scheme will be that followed at Washington, with modifications required
by the conditions and resulting from extensive experiments with the
Weather Bureau outfit at the Deutsche Seewarte.
The kites are of three sizes, the large Marvin, like
those used by the Weather Bureau of 6-1/3 square meters surface,
Hargrave kites of 4 and 2-3/4 square meters surface, and light Eddy
kites of 2-3/4 square meters, which are very advantageously employed in
lifting and sustaining the larger kites with the instruments in light
This appears to be the first occasion on which
preparations have been made for the systematic exploration of the upper
air conditions in the polar regions.
Monthly Weather Review, April 1901, p.177. (source