National Geographic : 1899 Dec
496 THE WELLMAN POLAR EXPEDITION moccasins upon his feet. Within these moccasins were from three to five pairs of thick woolen stockings, these being sur rounded by loose dry grass to absorb the moisture. He never once suffered from cold feet, and even after he had met with an accident and the circulation in one of his legs below the knee was almost wholly stopped, he suffered no frostbites. Upon the hands wool is better than skin. We usually wore two pairs of ordinary woolen mittens. The inner pair was dry and warm, while the outer pair was filled with frost, which could be shaken out at intervals. February and March were our coldest months, and these were the months of the sledge journey. The lowest temperatures observed by us were a little under 50° Fahrenheit, not as great a degree of cold as is observed every winter in Siberia and in the interior of Alaska; but it must be remembered that all of our observations were taken at the sea-level, where the relative humidity of the atmosphere is greater than upon the elevated table-lands of Siberia or in the mountains of Alaska. Franz Josef Land we found to be a region of storms, due probably to its proximity to the comparatively warm Barents sea to the south, where the influence of the Gulf Stream is quite marked, and to the fact that it lies directly within the track of what might properly be called the Arctic trade winds. This Arctic trade wind, result of the same causes as the trade winds so well known to navigation in the southern hemi sphere, blows from northeast to southwest, as the trades of the region below the equator blow from southeast to northwest. In both cases the chief causes are the rotary motion of the globe and the flow of cooled air toward warmer zones along the sur face of the earth. It is this trade wind which produces the set or current of the Arctic seas from the northern coasts of Siberia to the great outlet of the ocean between Greenland and Spitz bergen-the same movement of waters that Dr Nansen relied upon to bring the Fram through in safety. In Franz Josef Land we had opportunity to observe not only the effects of this cur rent, pouring down through all the sounds and straits summer and winter, either under the ice or breaking the ice-sheet and carrying the debris with it, but also the meeting of two oppos ing forces, namely, the Arctic trades and the Gulf Stream. The mighty ocean river that debouches from the Gulf of Mexico, traverses the coast of North America, and crosses the Atlantic to the shores of Great Britain, divides there into two branches.