Polar Stations

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Polar Stations


scientific observation points established on the coasts of the continents and islands of the Arctic Ocean and in Antarctica. Systematic aerometeorological, actinometric, geomagnetic, hydrological, and glaciological observations are carried out at polar stations. Aerometeorological observations are transmitted by radio several times a day to weather service agencies for compiling synoptic maps and, together with analogous data from other latitudes, serve as material for hy-drometeorological forecasts.

The first polar stations were established in the arctic (13 stations) and the antarctic (two stations) during the first International Polar Year (1882–83). Two temporary polar stations were organized in Russia, at Malye Karmakuly on Novaia Zemlia and on the island of Sagastyr’ in the Lena River delta. In the 1930’s there were 57 polar stations in the arctic, more than 20 of them Russian. By 1974 more than 200 polar stations were in operation in the arctic; about half of these were Soviet, under the direction of the Chief Administration of the Hydrometeorological Service attached to the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute directs the scientific and methodological work of the Soviet stations. Four administrations of the Hydrometeorological Service of the USSR were established in 1973 to manage and organize the rapid collection and processing of scientific data. They are the Amderma, Dik-son, Tiksi, and Pevek administrations. In the non-Soviet arctic regions there are polar stations on the Alaskan peninsula, Greenland, and the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The basic network of polar stations in Antarctica was set up in the period before, during, and after the International Geophysical Year (1957–58). Twelve countries took part in organizing the stations: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, the USSR, the USA, France, Chile, Japan, and the Republic of South Africa. Some of the antarctic polar stations functioned for only one or two years, but about 30 of them have been in existence for many years. The USSR set up temporary polar stations (Pionerskaia, Komsomol’skaia, Vostok I, Sovetskaia, Oazis, Lazarev) in the least studied regions; they functioned for one to three years and were closed after completing their research assignments. The permanent stations (Mirnyi, Vostok, Novolazarevskaia, Molodezhnaia, Bellingshausen, Leningradskaia) are centers for field geophysical studies. Until 1971, Mirnyi was the main base of Soviet antarctic research; since 1971 the main base has been Molodezhnaia, which has been converted into a regional antarctic center, which transmits weather forecasts for ships and airplanes working in the southern hemisphere and to agencies of the world weather service.

The working programs of the antarctic polar stations are coordinated by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).


Gakkel’, la. la. Nauka i osvoenie Arktiki. Leningrad, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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