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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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not prove that it would not be possible to do so every year.
My belief is that, with all the facilities of our time, it ought only
to be impossible in altogether exceptional years—such as rarely
occur, if ever—to overcome the difficulties of the ice in the
Kara Sea, and to find a way through to the estuaries of the Obi
and Yenisei.
But the survey here given shows, nevertheless, that there
must be great variations from one year to another in the quantity
of ice to be found in the Kara Sea in summer. In some years,
1878 for instance, it seems to have been almost ice-free from its
southern part to as far north as Lonely Island and the neigh
bourhood of Franz Josef Land ; while in other years there was
much ice both in the northern and southern parts of the sea,
which made progress difficult, even if it was not altogether
impossible. In 1882, for example, there was much ice both in
the south and in the north of the Kara Sea ; and in 1883 it was
also full of ice, so far as it was investigated. In 1888 and 1895
much ice was seen there as late as the end of September, and
in 1902 and 1903 it was full of ice, at any rate in its south
western part. But, on the other hand, the Kara Sea was found
to be more or less free of ice at the end of August in such years as
1887, 1890, 1894, 1897 and 1898, 1900 especially, 1901, and 1904.
It is therefore incorrect to suppose that an approximately
equal quantity of ice is adrift in this sea every summer and
autumn, and that we may therefore reckon that, if progress is
difficult in the southern part, it must be easy in its northern,
and vice versa. No doubt the winds and the drift of the ice
which they create have a great deal to do with the direction in
which the bulk of the ice is carried, but a still more important
factor as regards the chances of navigation in various years is
the quantity of the ice itself. For the future navigation of
the Kara Sea it will therefore be desirable to find out, if possible,
to what these great variations in the quantity of the ice may be
Two possibilities may be imagined. They may either be due
to variations in the prevailing winds and sea-currents, the effect
of which is that, while in one year great masses of ice are driven
into this sea from the northward and fill it, in other years the
ice masses are driven northward and out of the sea. Or else we

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