In 1912 Hess found that the rate of production of ions in the atmosphere grows with altitude. In 1933 Regener observed a maximum rate of production above 20 km, a result later confirmed with his student, Pfotzer (Nature 1935). Final results were published in German by Pfotzer alone, probably because Regener had difficulties with the National Socialist government, and the maximum has become known as the Pfotzer maximum. An argument is made for renaming the maximum the Regener--Pfotzer maximum.
After describing the hydrological cycle and defining hydrology in the introduction, the early historical development of hydrology is briefly presented. Then the incorporation of hydrology within the IUGG and the subsequent development of the association are described chronologically. Finally, in the conclusions, the present state of the association is discussed together with an outlook for the future.
According to climate simulations, the Earth's atmosphere is warming up as a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases. But, a causality relationship between these emissions and temperatures has not been directly demonstrated. Over a period of 423 000 years, analyses of polar ice cores in fact show that CO2 was not a cause, but an effect, of the the temperature changes recorded during cycles of glaciation–deglaciation. Hence, Milakovitch cycles are the only drivers of climate change.
We found an early record of ball lightning, which was observed in the monastery of Pi (Oliva, southeastern Spain) on 18 October 1619. The ball lightning was observed by at least three people and was described as a “rolling burning vessel” and a “ball of fire”. The ball lightning appeared following a lightning flash, showed a mainly horizontal motion, crossed a wall, smudged an image of the Lady of Rebollet (then known as Lady of Pi) and burnt her ruff, and overturned a cross.
This paper presents the scientific and organizational context for formation of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) in 1919 under the auspices of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. As IAMAS has since evolved, commissions were formed to bring together scientists researching atmospheric radiation, ozone, electricity, clouds and precipitation, dynamics, global pollution, climate, polar regions, the middle atmosphere, and planetary atmosphere.
From the early work of Prince Albert I of Monaco, the first president of the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, to today, the Association has promoted and supported international research and cross-cutting activities in ocean sciences, building on the work of the many far-sighted scientists who, over the last century, have addressed seemingly intractable problems. This paper describes key events in IAPSO's history and the roles played by the scientists involved.
An overview of the history of international organizations for seismological cooperation leading to the current International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI) is presented. Achievements and contributions of IASPEI over the past century are noted. The current organizational structure and future of IASPEI is discussed.
Written for the centennial anniversary of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), this paper documents the activities of the Union at the beginning of the 21st century. IUGG added an eighth association on cryospheric sciences, introduced new categories of affiliate and honorary memberships, new grants, science education, and recognition programs, and formed new commissions on climatic and environmental change, data and information, planetary sciences, and history.
Arthur Casagrande is one of the main people responsible for the geotechnics that we know today. Born in Slovenia, he went to the United States in 1926 to participate in major civil engineering projects. In his years of work with Karl Terzaghi, Casagrande focused on research studies, such as the development on the limits of Atterberg, and equipment for soil trials. Casagrande also was professor at Harvard University and a consultant.
The International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) became the eighth and most recent association of IUGG in July 2007. IACS was launched in recognition of the importance of the cryosphere, particularly at a time of significant global change. The forbears of IACS, however, start with the 1894 Commission Internationale des Glaciers (CIG). This paper traces the transition from CIG to IACS; scientific objectives that drove activities and changes, and key events and individuals involved.
This paper describes the history of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) after World War II. The technologies developed during the war were brought to bear in the extraordinary global scientific effort that was the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958). Changes in the geopolitical landscape brought about changes in IUGG's structure. International campaigns encompassing multiple disciplines became commonplace, and international scientific bodies were organized.
The paper describes the history of the International Association of Geodesy from its forerunner established in 1862 to the Section of Geodesy of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics in 1922 and its development to the present. It focusses on five major periods: (1) between the World Wars; (2) re-establishment after World War II; (3) inception of the space age; (4) geodynamic research and scientific services; and (5) the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS).
This paper discusses the quality of James Cook’s tidal measurements during the voyage of the Endeavour. We conclude that his measurements were accurate in general to about 0.5 ft in height and 30 min in time. They were good enough (or unique enough) to be included in global compilations of tidal information in the 18th century and were used in the 19th century in the construction of the first worldwide tidal atlases. They support Cook’s reputation as a good observer of the environment.
Peck, PhD in civil engineering from the RPI, was one of the major contributors to the development of geotechnics in the twentieth century. He arrived at Harvard University in 1938 to attend the soil mechanics courses taught by Arthur Casagrande, which guided Peck’s professional career towards geotechnics. Peck dedicated himself to consulting and research work and was a committed lecturer at the University of Illinois, where he was a professor for 32 years.
The Australian Space Forecast Centre (ASFC) had its origins in the International Geophysical Year (IGY), 1957–58, when a need arose for short-term forecasts of the near-space environment to support the IGY scientific programmes. Skills developed during the IGY provided the platform for building the current space weather services, which take advantage of internet communications, a wide range of space-based imagery and our significantly enhanced scientific knowledge of the space environment.
The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) was established in 1919 to promote activities of international scientific societies dealing with geodesy, terrestrial magnetism and electricity, meteorology, physical oceanography, seismology, volcanology, and hydrology. This paper first introduces IUGG, presenting its current structure, partners, and various activities before the origin and earlier development of the Union is described covering the period between the two World Wars.
The lengths of the coastlines in Ptolemy's Geography are compared with the corresponding values transmitted by other ancient sources, presumably based on some lost periploi (literally "circumnavigations", a genre of ancient geographical literature describing coastal itineraries). The comparison reveals a remarkable agreement between them, suggesting that Ptolemy relied much more heavily on these or similar periploi than it used to be thought.
The operation of satellite telecommunication and positioning systems is affected by physical events such as solar eruptions, Earth’s magnetic field perturbation and structure of Earth’s plasma environment. These collective and complex phenomena of solar terrestrial interaction are called space weather. It is necessary to measure the characteristics of these events and their influence on the system performance as well as to forecast them. The paper presents the 45 years of history.
The article describes the history of Andøya Rocket Range (now Andøya Space Center) from its inception in 1962 until today. From the first sounding rocket launch, ARR/ASC has developed into an important company on both the national and international scene. Its activities encompass scientific studies of the Arctic upper atmosphere with sounding rockets and advanced ground-based instruments, education in space science and technology, and technological services required for such activities.
Throughout the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics' (IUGG's) centennial anniversary, the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy is holding a series of activities to underline the ground-breaking facts in the area of geomagnetism and aeronomy. Over 100 years, the history of this research is rich, and here we present a short tour through some of the IAGA's major achievements, starting with the scientific landscape before IAGA, through its foundation until the present day.
John Alan Chalmers spent almost 40 years working on atmospheric electricity at Durham University, UK. He is particularly remembered in the atmospheric physics community for his accessible and insightful textbook, Atmospheric Electricity. He also supervised over 35 research students. This article, inspired by a Royal Meteorological Society discussion meeting held at Durham, provides an overview of his background, scientific contributions, and legacy to modern atmospheric science.
An analysis is made of the records made by Spanish observers of a notable aurora on 18 January 1770 in order to study the characteristics of this event. The records indicate that the phenomenon was observed in both continental and insular territories of Spain. In general, observers described the aurora as red in colour, from sunset to midnight. Calculations of the geomagnetic latitudes of the observation locations indicate this aurora was observed over a wide range of abnormally low latitudes.
Charles Hutton suggested in 1821 that the pyramids of Egypt be used to site an experiment to improve the estimate of the density of the Earth. He had previously estimated the horizontal attraction of a Scottish mountain as part of Nevil Maskelyne’s 1774 "Schiehallion Experiment". I present a virtual realization of an experiment at the Giza pyramids to investigate Hutton’s concept. I show that such an experiment would indeed have allowed a more accurate mean Earth density to be determined.
This paper summarises how IAVCEI was formed 100 years ago; the context in which it formed; its governance structure and how this has changed; the nature of its conferences; the initiation and development of its flagship journal, the Bulletin of Volcanology; and its evolution into an inclusive, representative learned association which welcomes scientists from all countries to participate in its research and training conferences and workshops and in its governance.
In this paper a brief summary will be given of the historical development of geomagnetism as a science in southern Africa and particularly the role played by Hermanus Magnetic Observatory in this regard. From a very modest beginning in 1841 as a recording station at the Cape of Good Hope Hermanus Magnetic Observatory is today part of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), where its geomagnetic field data are extensively used in international research projects with a wide range.
Solar-terrestrial prediction services in China began in 1969. In 1990, China joined the International URSIgram and World Days Service (IUWDS). The Regional Warning Center Beijing (RWC-Beijing) of IUWDS was officially approved in China in 1991. In 1996, IUWDS was renamed the International Space Environment Service (ISES). In 2000, RWC-Beijing was renamed RWC-China. RWC-China headquarters is located on the campus of the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC).
This paper analyses the development of international geoscientific unions, and discusses their past and present role in and their added value to the promotion of geoscience in the complicated arena of existing and emerging intergovernmental organisations and professional societies of geoscientists.
This paper discusses the hypothesis of the expanding Earth in the period ca. 1950-1975 and how it interacted with Paul Dirac’s cosmological hypothesis of a decreasing gravitational constant. It pays particular attention to the models in which the expansion of the Earth was thought to be caused by a varying gravitational constant. These models, primarily due to Pascual Jordan, László Egyed and Robert Dicke, were for a decade or so considered interesting alternatives to continental drift.