Abstract

The importance of the polar regions to solving many of the fundamental problems in geophysics, including climatology and meteorology, was recognized by Austrian explorer Lt. Karl Weyprecht, scientist and co-commander with Lt. Julius von Payer of the Austro-Hungarian Polar Expedition of 1872–1874. He realized that the many private expeditions conducted previously would not suffice to provide the data needed to understand nature on a larger scale. During his long overwintering while stranded on the sea ice of the Barents Sea, Weyprecht contemplated the self-serving folly of frivolous polar nations and their generally unproductive scientific pursuits. The key to success in achieving a greater understanding of geophysical phenomena, he envisioned, was to be found in an effort of international science cooperation, working together at greater efficiency.

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