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British Polar Year Expedition

Nature volume 131, page 464 (01 April 1933) | Download Citation



THE National Polar Year Committee has received a report dated December 31, 1932 from Mr. J. M. Stagg, leader of the British expedition at Fort Rae in Canada. From this it appears that the party had its first taste of winter conditions on October 1, when the first snow fell and the rain recorder was permanently frozen up. The temperature at the date of the report was about —40° F. Difficulties have also been experienced with the clocks. Special low temperature clocks proved useless out of doors, but the party found that by removing all the oil from ordinary clocks, they functioned satisfactorily. The recording pen of the anemograph has also proved troublesome. Sounding balloons have been sent up but none had been recovered, though a cabled message has since reported the recovery of two meteorographs with good records. Communication with the substation for auroral photography about twenty miles south-east of Fort Rae was by wireless, but with the onset of winter, a telephone line was taken across the frozen Great Slave Lake. Auroral activity has been poor though some form of aurora can be observed more or less continuously from dusk until dawn. Some four hundred photographs have been taken, using the double station communication to obtain simultaneous exposures at Fort Rae and the substation twenty miles distant. The moon is only below the horizon for a short time daily, and during full moon auroral photography becomes almost impracticable. The sub-station is manned by one member of the expedition for a week at a time. The expedition's schedule includes full meteorological records every three hours, hourly cloud observations, and observations of aurora every five minutes and continuously when photography is being done.

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