In the spring of 1848 the first expeditions sailed in search of the lost Franklin expedition. Unfortunately Franklin and most of his men were already dead. Although this was unknown to the early relief expeditions, it must have seemed increasingly probable to the crews of the forty ships which followed during the next eleven years. Increasingly they felt free to turn their attention to the discovery of those unknown islands among which the expedition had so mysteriously disappeared. Before clear evidence of the tragedy was found, the northwest passage had been negotiated and most of the Canadian Arctic archipelago had been outlined. Today it is appropriate to look back a century and realize that these same inhospitable regions are the scene of activity such as they have not known in the intervening years. Spurred by no tragedy, assisted by aids unknown even a generation ago, the exploration, mapping and scientific study of the North American Arctic is now being pursued on a scale never before possible. What an unique opportunity it is! The world revolves about the polar regions. The magnetic poles, the aurora, the effects of continuous summer sunlight, the winter's cold are strange physical attributes that make the background to this exploration of the world's last undiscovered frontiers as fascinating today as it has ever been. Discovery was not the only achievement of the Franklin search, for it elicited world wide sympathy and support from many nations. Bellot Strait at the extreme northern boundary of the mainland was named for a French volunteer. The Danish and Russian governments assisted search parties. Henry Grinnell of Philadelphia equipped two expeditions which were commanded by United States Navy officers. Although De Haven and Kane did not find Franklin, their discoveries first aroused that American interest in Ellesmere Island and northern Greenland that led to later expeditions in search of the pole. All these efforts, inspired by noble motives, were happily marked by an absence of quarrelling and a generous recognition of the achievements of others. As an international, scientific society the Arctic Institute of North America can wish for no better guide to its conduct than these examples of international goodwill a hundred years ago. The small group of men who four years ago formed this private society and maintained control of it until it was established upon a secure foundation, are now anxious to see a larger number of those interested in the North American Arctic take an active part in the Institute's affairs. As a means of bringing this about they invite all persons interested to join the Institute; they have limited the number of times any Governor may be re-elected and they now launch this journal as a means of communicating information about the Arctic and the activities of the Institute to all its members and to the wider public that may be interested in the ends of the earth.
Probably in few regions of the world are the opportunities for international scientific cooperation greater than in the Far North. From west to east, the United States (Alaska), Canada, Newfoundland (Labrador), Iceland, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Soviet Union are all vitally concerned in Arctic and Subarctic problems. And many other countries have contributed significant chapters in the ever-expanding book of knowledge entitled "The North". Scientific problems are similar regardless of international boundaries, and the number of problems in the Arctic and Subarctic that can be best solved by international cooperation is legion. In fact many of them can be solved only by international cooperation. The desirability of such cooperation and of a circumpolar background is stressed by Professor V. C. Wynne-Edwards: "Parallel investigations along many lines are being made in Alaska, Scandinavia and the U.S.S.R. The importance, from the purely scientific as well as the practical and economic standpoint, of acquainting the investigators of this country at first hand with similar problems and conditions in other northern lands cannot be too strongly stressed. Understanding and insight are born of experience; and the need for a circumpolar background must be evident to many besides myself." ...
A review of the studies of the Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Dominion Observatory, Canada, since 1907, showing the extension of the network of magnetic stations in the Canadian Arctic, and discussing the determination of the magnetic pole in northern Prince of Wales Island, on the basis of 1947 preliminary values from nineteen stations; and with an historical summary of magnetic observations in the North.
Description of type of observations, communications and other facilities, and the position of fifteen first-order Weather Bureau stations, sixty-six second-order stations, and nine armed forces weather stations in the Alaska and the Aleutians.
Sketch of the extension of climatic stations from west to east coast 1873-1939, and brief discussion of present facilities, future plans, and of local conditions and difficulties.
Historic sketch from the First International Polar Year 1882-83 to 1948, with a list giving positions, altitudes, and type of observations, of the forty-one weather reporting stations in arctic and subarctic Canada.
Encyclopedia Arctica is to be like Britannica, but instead of taking in the whole globe our work is to focus on the Arctic and shade off into the Subarctic. For EA purposes, the Arctic has not as yet been defined (as of 1948). The Subarctic on land has been considered provisionally as the region north of a line connecting the most southerly points at which permafrost has been discovered, whether in the Old or New World. According to Soviet writers of 1947, this would place within the sphere of EA about 47% of all their territories, mainland and islands; by estimates of various Canadian geologists and geographers, the sphere of EA would cover anything between 50% and 70% of their country's land surface. It has not yet been decided for EA whether Newfoundland, Iceland, and Sakhalin are to be appended to the Subarctic, nor has the decision been made for the Kuriles. Arbitrarily it has been settled that all of political Alaska will be included, though some of the Aleutian Islands are as far south as Edmonton or Liverpool and although many components of that island chain seldom or never get colder, near sea level, than the minimum records of the State of Florida. At sea the outermost fringe of the Subarctic will be, in any longitude, the southern limit of drift sea ice or of icebergs, whichever is more southerly. EA is to have not less than five million and not more than six million words. Its goal, which we do not expect to approach closely, is to answer every question that any intelligent and reasonable person may want to ask concerning the region geographically covered. This means that the range will be from geophysics to Eskimo music and from the northern lights to Christian missions. We cover everything, whether imaginary or prehensible, from the vicinity of 49° N. Lat. on the northern shore of Lake Superior, where permafrost was uncovered during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway around 1880, to 90° N. Lat. which Peary first attained in 1909. There willhave to be some account both of how the permafrost was discovered and of how the North Pole was discovered. ...
A summary of the history of the Danish administration of Greenland, and an analysis of the Yearbook 1947 of the Danish Greenland Society (Det Gronlandske selskabs Aarsskrift, 1947).
Nine individual research projects are reported: 1. Aerobiology: aerobiological investigations in the Arctic and Subarctic by Nicholas Polunin, S.M. Pady, and C.D. Kelly. 2. Botany: Mackenzie Valley, James and Hudson Bays and Ungava. 3. Zoology: Nueltin Lake Expedition, Forest fur animal and ecology and management; Marine biological reconnaissance in Ungava Bay, 1947. 4. Entomology: studies of Arctic and Subarctic Colias butterflies. 5. Medicine: Queen's University expedition to Southampton Island. 6. Physiology: scientific research at Point Barrow, Alaska. 7. Geology: geological research along the east coast of Hudson Bay; Silliman's fossil mount, Baffin Island; Geological reconnaissance of Canadian Arctic Islands; Newfoundland-Dalhousie Labrador expeditions, 1946, 1947; Greenland coal. 8. Surveying: geodetic surveys in northern Canada. 9. Frozen ground: permafrost at Norman Wells, N.W.T.
"News From High Latitudes" includes brief reports or correspondence on a number of expeditions or scientific research efforts in both the North American Arctic and the Antarctic. Much of the information is related to ice navigation and marine transportation of personnel, equipment and supplies for the manning of research stations and weather stations in both the Arctic and Antarctic, for drilling of oil in northern Alaska, and the construction of a new ice-strengthened ship for supplying Canadian Eastern Arctic settlements.