The Drift Pattern of Sea Ice in the Arctic with Particular Reference to the Atlantic Approach

  • Torgny E. Vinje


Long before man started to penetrate into the Arctic, the existence of a transpolar current was indicated by Siberian timber which drifted ashore on the European side of the Arctic. In 1879 the American vessel Jeanette was wrecked near the New Siberian Islands, and a few years later the remains of the ship were washed ashore in south-west Greenland. This gave Fridtjof Nansen (1897) the idea of a drift voyage across the Arctic Ocean which led to the Fram expedition (1893–96) and to the first scientific observations from the polar basin. Further accumulation of data was slow until aircraft came into use, and the ice itself was used as an observation platform. This technique was pioneered by Russian scientists in 1937 when they landed at the North Pole and established the first drifting station, Severnyj Poljus I (SP-1). Since 1950 observational platforms of this kind have been used continuously by Soviet scientists, and today two manned ice stations, SP-22 and SP-23 are drifting on the Asian side of the Arctic Ocean. These semi-permanent ice stations have been supplemented by airborne expeditions landing on a great number of ice floes, as well as by deployment of automatic stations.


Arctic Ocean Drift Speed Calm Weather Siberian Island East Greenland Current 
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  • Torgny E. Vinje

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