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453

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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APPENDIX
453
following year will be much greater than after a mild winter
with a heavy snowfall. If the severe winter is then succeeded
by a relatively cold and raw spring and summer, little ice will
melt, and we shall have a particularly unfavourable ice year in
the Kara Sea. If, on the other hand, the mild winter with
heavy snowfall is succeeded by a warm spring and summer with
much sunshine, the melting of the ice will proceed rapidly, and
we may expect a fairly ice-free Kara Sea.
Another thing to be considered is that the formation of ice
in winter is to a great extent dependent on the conditions pre
vailing during the autumn—whether there is much or little ice,
whether the surface-waters are cold or warm. If the sea is
tolerably free of ice at the close of summer, as it often is, the
water in the surface-layers will be relatively warm, and will
require time to be cooled down to freezing-point, and moreover
the formation of ice will be impeded by the winds, which keep
the sea rough ; and when new ice has been formed, it will
immediately be broken up again and destroyed by the sea,
which grinds it to a mash. It may take time for the formation
of ice to become strong enough to prevail against wind and
sea.
In those years, on the other hand, when, during the autumn
there is much ice in the sea, which has lasted through the summer
from the previous winter, the water of the surface-layers will
be colder, and new ice will quickly be able to form between the
drifting floes, which will entirely lay the seas and prevent the
wind from obtaining a hold. The formation of ice may then pro
ceed more or less undisturbed from the very beginning of winter.
A year with much ice may therefore influence the conditions
in the following year ; and if, for instance, two severe winters
occur in succession, there is a prospect that the summer which
follows them may be one of special difficulty ; while, on the
other hand, it cannot always be assumed that a mild winter is
capable of counteracting the effects of a preceding difficult ice
year.
Even at a very early period it appears to have been realized
that the severity of the winter had an influence on the quantity
of ice in the Kara Sea in the following summer. In 1595 we
heard that the Russian sealers told the Dutchmen, who met

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