Banner: First International Polar Year



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Unless otherwise noted the times given for the meteorological observations was Local Mean Time of the place, with an offset for reading sequence. No correction to a standard reference time has been made.

Barometric Pressure was reported in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) at the elevation of the place. These values have been reduced to Sea-Level Pressure (SLP) in hectopascals (hPa) using the hypsometric formula:

P(0) = P(Z)exp^Z/H, where H = RT/g
R = gas constant (287)
T = air temperature in °K
g = acceleration of gravity (9.8)

Temperature measurements were obtained from one or two standard thermometers intercalibrated with a number of subsidiary instruments. Mercury thermometers were generally used except in extremely cold conditions. Below the freezing point of mercury (-38.8° C) somewhat less accurate alcohol (spirit) thermometers were used instead. All stations were equipped with instrument shelters of some kind, with the Wild pattern screen being recommended and most common.

Wind velocities were given as the hourly average calculated from distance accumulated by a counter attached to the anemometers.

 1. Cap Thordsen ( Sweden )

The anemometer was installed on top of a mountain at an elevation of 261 meters. The readings were relayed to the station electrically.

3. Sodankylä ( Finland )

Observations were made at Sodankylä and an auxiliary station located at Kultala from August 1882 through August 1884.

The second year (1883-84) was markedly warmer and damper than the preceding IPY year. Lemström and Biese noted the difference, and reported that the local inhabitants considered the change to be exceptional.

5. Kara Sea ( Varna ) (Netherlands)

The Netherlands expedition intended to establish a station at Port Dikson, at the mouth of the Ienissei (Yenisey) river, but their ship was beset in heavy sea ice in the Kara Sea . The Varna , along with the Danish vessel Dijmphna, drifted with the ice for the entire IPY year. A station was built on the sea ice in October, near the two trapped ships. The Varna was crushed and finally sank on July 24, 1883 .

The position given in the table above is approximately central to the drift of the two ships.

Sampling intervals and instrument locations varied during the period. Observations were made 6x per day until October 9, when the station became operational, and during August 1883, after the station was abandoned. The placement of instruments is given:

Barometer Elevation

Aug and Sep 1882 = 0 m
Nov and Dec 1882 = 1.15 m Jan - Jul 1883 = 2.5 m
Aug 1883 = 0.8 m



Aug - Sep 1882 = on vessel Oct 1882 - Jul 1883 = 3 m (Wild pattern screen)
Aug 1883 = 0.8 m

Anemometer Height

Installed at 7.20 m in Jan 1883. Winds estimated from Beaufort Scale Aug - Dec 1882 and Aug 1883.


The heights and elevations above also varied from the actual surface due to the accumulation and melting of snow and ice under the instrument installations.

6. Ssagastyr (Russia)

The station was operational through June 30, 1884 .

7. Point Barrow (United States)

The station was operational on October 18, 1881 .

Time = Washington Mean Time (correction for mean local time -5h 17m).

Barometric Pressure was measured in inches of mercury, which has been converted to hectopascals (hPa) by multiplying by 25.3999997.

The thermometer shelter was installed on the north side of the station building and consisted of wooden louvers on three exposed sides with an additional screen of seal-skin above and below. The shelter was 16 feet long and 4 feet broad, with a walrus hide roof.

Winds were given in miles/hour, which has been converted to meters/second by multiplying by 0.44704.

8. Fort Rae (UK/Canada)

The elevation of the station was not determined. The heights of the instruments were only given in feet above the Great Slave Lake . The elevation in the table above was calculated by adding this information to the elevation above sea-level of the lake as provided by Statistics Canada [].

Winds velocities given in the published reduction were estimated from the Beaufort scale rather than the anemometer readings as, Dawson reports, comparison showed close agreement.

9. Fort Conger (United States)

The station was operational from August 8, 1881 until abandoned on August 8, 1883 . Some additional observations were made on the retreat and at Camp Clay until June 1884.

Time = Washington Mean Time (correction to local mean time +49m).

Barometer elevation was 7.38 m, but the published values were reduced to SLP.

10. Kingua Fjord (Germany)

The wind vane did not function well in light winds due to the thickening of lubricant.

This report also contains observations from 6 secondary stations established at Moravian missions in Laborador: Nain, Rama, Hebron , Okak, Zoar, Hoffenthal (Hopedale).

11. Godthaab (Denmark)

This report also contains the daily meteorological observations obtained by the Danish vessel Dijmphna in the Kara Sea (beset in the ice along with the Varna of the Netherlands expedition). Additional monthly data is available for Ivigtut and Jacobshaven from 1866 and Upernavik from 1875. Daily observations at Nennortalik and Angmagsalik resulting from another expedition in 1884-1885 are appended as well.

Wind velocities are generally from a remote-mounted Robinson’s anemometer, but when this was not functioning another instrument was substituted.



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This project supported by the NOAA Arctic Research Office
Contact: Kevin R. Wood and James E. Overland
NOAA | Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory | Arctic Zone | IPY-1
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
NOAA - University of Washington