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Greenland, double Cape Langaness, and are stranded on the west coast of Iceland. The inhabitants are then aware that their crops will fail, in consequence of fogs which are generated almost incessantly ; and the dearth of food is not confined to the land, for the temperature of the water is so changed that the fish entirely desert the coast. Difference of climate of the Northern and Southern hemispheres.— When we compare the climate of the northern and southern hemispheres, we obtain still more instruction in regard to the influence of the distribution of land and sea on climate. The dry land in the southern hemisphere is to that of the northern in the ratio only of one to three, excluding from our consideration that part which lies between the pole and the 74° of south latitude, which has hitherto proved inaccessible. And whereas, in the northern hemisphere, between the pole and the thirtieth parallel of north latitude, the land and sea occupy nearly equal areas, the ocean on the southern hemisphere covers no less than fifteen parts in sixteen of the entire space included between the antarctic circle and the thirtieth parallel of south latitude. This great extent of sea gives a particular character to climates south of the equator, the winters being mild and the summers cool. Thus, in Van Diemen's Land, corresponding nearly in latitude to Rome, the winters are more mild than at Naples, and the summers not warmer than those at Paris, which is 7° farther from the equator." The effect on vegetation is very remarkable:—tree-ferns, for instance, which require abundance of moisture, and an equalization of the seasons, are found in Van Diemen’s land, in latitude 42° S.; and in New Zealand in south latitude 45°. The orchideous parasites also advance to the 38° and 42° of south latitude. Humboldt observes that it is in the mountainous, temperate, humid, and shady parts of the equatorial regions, that the family of ferns produces the greatest number of species. As we know, therefore, that elevation often compensates for the effect of latitude in the geographical distribution of plants, we may easily understand that a class of vegetables, which grow at a certain height in the torrid zone, would flourish on the plains at greater distances from the equator, if the temperature, moisture, and other necessary conditions, were equally uniform throughout the year. It has long been supposed that the general temperature of the southern hemisphere was considerably lower than that of the northern, and that the difference amounted to at least 10°Fahrenheit. Baron Humboldt, after collecting and comparing a great number of observations, came to the conclusion that even a much larger difference existed, but that none was to be observed within the tropics, and only a small difference as far as the thirty-fifth and sortieth parallel. Captain Cook was of opinion that the ice of the antarctic predominated greatly over that of the arctic region, that encircling the southern pole coming nearer the equator by 10° than
* Humboldt on Isothermal Lines.
the ice around the north pole. But the recent voyages of Weddell and Biscoe have shown that on certain meridians it is possible to approach the south pole nearer by several degrees than Cook had penetrated; and even in the seventy-third and seventy-fourth degrees of south latitude, they sound the sea open and with sew ice-floes.” Nevertheless, the greater cold of high southern latitudes is confirmed by the description given both by ancient and modern navigators of the lands in this hemisphere. In Sandwich land, according to Cook, in 59° of south latitude, the perpetual snow and ice reach to the sea beach; and what is still more astonishing, in the island of Georgia, which is in 54° south latitude, or the same parallel as Yorkshire, the line of perpetual snow descends to the level of the ocean. When we consider this fact, and then recollect that the summit of the highest mountains in Scotland, four degrees farther to the north, do not attain the limit of perpetual snow on our side of the equator, we learn that latitude is one only of many powerful causes, which determine the climate of particular regions of the globe. The permanence of snow in the southern hemisphere, is in this instance partly due to the floating ice, which chills the atmosphere and condenses the vapour, so that in summer the sun cannot pierce through the foggy air. But besides the abundance of ice which covers the sea to the south of Georgia and Sandwich land, we may also, as Humboldt suggests, ascribe the cold of those countries in part to the absence of land between them and the tropics. If Africa and New Holland extended farther to the south, a diminution of ice would take place in consequence of the radiation of heat from these continents during summer, which would warm the contiguous sea and rarefy the air. The heated ačrial currents would then ascend and flow more rapidly towards the south pole, and moderate the winter. In confirmation of these views, it is stated that the ice, which extends as far as the 68° and 71° of south latitude, advances more towards the equator whenever it meets an open sea; that is, where the extremities of the present continents are not opposite to it; and this circumstance seems explicable only on the principle above alluded to, of the radiation of heat from the lands so situated. The cold of the antarctic regions was conjectured by Cook to be due to the existence of a large tract of land between the seventieth degree of south latitude and the pole; and it is worthy of observation, that even now, after the most recent voyages, the area still unexplored within the antarctic circle is much more than double the area of Europe.” Some geographers think that the late discovery of Graham's and Enderby's Lands (between lat. 64° and 68° S.), both of which Captain Biscoe believes to be of great extent, has strengthened the probability of Cook's conjecture. These newly observed countries, although placed in latitudes in which herds of herbivorous animals are met with in the northern hemisphere, nay, where man himself exists, and where there are ports and villages, are described as most wintry in their aspect, almost entirely covered, even in summer, with ice and snow, and nearly destitute of animal life. The distance to which icebergs float from the polar regions on the opposite sides of the line is, as might have been anticipated, very dis. ferent. Their extreme limit in the northern hemisphere is lat. 40°, as before mentioned, and they are occasionally seen in lat. 42° N. near the termination of the great bank of Newfoundland, and at the Azores, lat. 42° N., to which they are sometimes dristed from Baffin's Bay. But in the other hemisphere they have been seen, within the last few years, at different points off the Cape of Good Hope, between latitude 36° and 89°.f One of these (see fig. 3.) was two miles in circumserence, and
* Captain Weddell, in 1823, advanced 3° farther than Captain Cook, and arrived at lat. 74° 15' south, long. 34° 17' west. After having passed through a sea strewed with numerous ice islands, he arrived, in that high latitude, at an open ocean; but even if he had sailed 69 farther south, he would not have penetrated to higher latitudes than Captain Parry in the arctic circle, who reached lat. 81°12' 51" north. Captain Biscoe, in 1831 and 1832, discovered Graham's Land, between 64° and 68° S. lat., to the southward of New South Shetland, and Enderby's Land, in the same latitude, on the meridian of Madagascar. Journ. of Roy. Geograph. Soc. of London, 1833, p. 105.
Iceberg seen off the Cape of Good Hope, April 1829. Lat. 39° 13' S. Long.48° 46' E. 150 feet high, appearing like chalk when the sun was obscured, and having the lustre of refined sugar when the sun was shining on it. Others rose from 250 to 300 feet above the level of the sea, and were therefore of great volume below; since it is ascertained, by experiments on the buoyancy of ice floating in sea-water, that for every solid foot seen above, there must at least be eight cubic feet below water. If ice islands from the north polar regions floated as far, they might reach Cape St. Vincent, and there, being drawn by the current that always sets in from the Atlantic
* Mr. Gardner informs me that the surface of Europe contains about 2,793,000 square geographical miles, the unexplored antarctic region about 7,620,000.
t On Icebergs in low Latitudes, by Capt. Horsburgh, by whom the sketch was made. Phil. Trans. 1830.
f Scoresby's Arctic Regions, vol. i. p. 234.
through the Straits of Gibraltar, be drifted into the Mediterranean, so that the serene sky of that delightful region might soon be desormed by clouds and mists. Before the amount of difference between the temperature of the two hemispheres was ascertained, it was referred by many astronomers to the precession of the equinoxes, or the acceleration of the earth's motion in its perihelium; in consequence of which the spring and summer of the southern hemisphere are now shorter, by nearly eight days, than those seasons north of the equator. But Sir J. Herschel reminds us that the excess of eight days in the duration of the sun's presence in the northern hemisphere is not productive of an excess of annual light and heat; since, according to the laws of elliptic motion, it is demonstrable that whatever be the ellipticity of the earth's orbit, the two hemispheres must receive equal absolute quantities of light and heat per annum, the proximity of the sun in perigee exactly compensating the effect of its swifter motion.* Humboldt, however, observes, that there must be a greater loss of heat by radiation in the southern hemisphere during a winter longer by eight days than that on the other side of the equator.f Perhaps no very sensible effect may be produced by this source of disturbance, yet the geologist should bear in mind that to a certain extent it operates alternately on each of the two hemispheres for a period of upwards of 10,000 years, dividing unequally the times during which the annual supply of solar light and heat is received. This cause may sometimes tend to counterbalance inequalities of temperature resulting from other far more influential circumstances; but, on the other hand, it must sometimes tend to increase the extreme of deviation arising from particular combinations of causes. But whatever may be at present the inferiority of heat in the temperate and frigid zones south of the line, it is quite evident that the cold would be far more intense if there happened, instead of open sea, to be tracts of elevated land between the 55th and 70th parallel; and on the other hand, the cold would be moderated if there was more land between the line and the forty-fifth degree of south latitude. Changes in the position of land and sea may give rise to vicissitudes in climate.—Having offered these brief remarks on the diffusion of heat over the globe in the present state of the surface, I shall now proceed to speculate on the vicissitudes of climate, which must attend those endless variations in the geographical features of our planet which are contemplated in geology. That our speculations may be confined within the strict limits of analogy, I shall assume, 1st, That the proportion of dry land to sea continues always the same. 2dly, That the volume of the land rising above the level of the sea is a constant quantity; and not only that its mean, but that its extreme height, are liable only to trifling variations. .3dly, That both the mean and extreme depth of the sea are invariable; and, 4thly, It may be consistent with due caution to assume that the grouping together of the land in great continents is a necessary part of the economy of nature; for it is possible that the laws which govern the subterranean sorces, and which act simultaneously along certain lines, cannot but produce, at every epoch, continuous mountain-chains; so that the subdivision of the whole land into innumerable islands may be precluded. If it be objected, that the maximum of elevation of land and depth of sea are probably not constant, nor the gathering together of all the land in certain parts, nor even perhaps the relative extent of land and water, I reply, that the arguments about to be adduced will be strengthened, if, in these peculiarities of the surface, there be considerable deviations from the present type. If, for example, all other circumstances being the same, the land is at one time more divided into islands than at another, a greater uniformity of climate might be produced, the mean temperature remaining unaltered; or if, at another era, there were mountains higher than the Himalaya, these, when placed in high latitudes, would cause a greater excess of cold. Or, if we suppose that at certain periods no chain of hills in the world rose beyond the height of 10,000 feet, a greater heat might then have prevailed than is compatible with the existence of mountains thrice that elevation. However constant may be the relative proportion of sea and land, we know that there is annually some small variation in their respective geographical positions, and that in every century the land is in some parts raised, and in others depressed by earthquakes; and so likewise is the bed of the sea. By these and other ceaseless changes, the configuration of the earth's surface has been remodelled again and again since it was the habitation of organic beings, and the bed of the ocean has been lifted up to the height of some of the loftiest mountains. The imagination is apt to take alarm when called upon to admit the formation of such irregularities in the crust of the earth, after it had once become the habitation of living creatures; but, if time be allowed, the operation need not subvert the ordinary repose of nature, and the result is in a general view insignificant, if we consider how slightly the highest mountain-chains cause our globe to differ from a persect sphere. Chimborazo, though it rises to more than 21,000 feet above the sea, would be represented, on a
* This follows, observes Herschel, from a very simple theorem, which may be thus stated:—“The amount of heat received by the earth from the sun, while describing any part of its orbit, is proportional to the angle described round the sun's centre.” So that if the orbit be divided into two portions by a line drawn in any direction through the sun's centre, the heat received in describing the two unequal segments of the ellipse so produced will be equal.—Geol. Trans. vol. iii. part ii. p. 298; second series.
f On 1sothermal Lines.