The glacial anticyclone theory examined in the light of recent meteorological data from Greenland—Part I

Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union



The glacial anticyclone theory, which William H. Hobbs propounded in 1910, is today still the only definitely formulated theory concerning the atmospheric movements that take place over an ice sheet of large extent. It stands chiefly on deductive grounds and contains several features that to climatologists as well as to glaciologists have always seemed questionable. Aside from the need of its verification for scientific reasons, there is now also urgent practical need for reliable information about the weather conditions that prevail over the ice sheet of Greenland, for Greenland lies athwart several of the great air routes of the future. In this paper, accordingly, the glacial anticyclone theory is first analyzed and then confronted with the facts of observation that are now at hand, especially those reported from the fixed meteorological stations which were maintained in the interior of Greenland during the 1930s.

In this, the first part of the paper, the meteorological data from the Eismitte station of the German Wegener Expedition are reviewed. The second part will cover the areological data of that expedition and the similar material from the other ice‐cap stations. The conclusions reached are that there is no evidence of a virtually permanent “glacial anticyclone” centered over the Greenland ice sheet. On the contrary, there is consistent evidence from all parts of Greenland that the weather over the ice sheet is controlled by alternating cyclonic and anticyclonic movements. Cyclonic activity is most intense in southern Greenland and weakest in northern Greenland. The entire ice sheet is supplied with snow brought by rising maritime air masses, not by air descending from the upper troposphere. Aviators need not expect so much as a fifty‐fifty chance of meeting with good weather on flights across central Greenland, except for a few weeks in midsummer.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The glacial anticyclone theory examined in the light of recent meteorological data from Greenland—Part I
Series title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
DOI 10.1029/TR027i003p00324
Volume 27
Issue 3
Year Published 1946
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Description 18 p.
First page 324
Last page 341
Country Greenland
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