Soldier, topographer, polar explorer, but also painter, Julius von Payer was a man of many skills. Despite being born in the West Bohemian spa town of Teplice, he is a figure unknown to most Czechs today. Nevertheless, his efforts were immortalised by the discovery of a polar island which he named Franz Josef Land.
For the first time in history, Prague is hosting the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, an annual conference focused on environmental conservation, the impact of tourism and research cooperation on the White Continent. The event is attended by representatives of 29 countries, which are jointly tasked with taking care of Antarctica. I asked Pavel Kapler, manager of the Czech Johann Gregor Mendel Antarctic base, how come the Czech Republic is one of them.
Fifty-four-year old financier, politician and adventurer Pavel Sehnal has become the first Czech to reach both the North and South pole in gruelling Last Degree expeditions. He conquered the South Pole with six other adventurers on January 13 of this year, less than two years after reaching the Arctic.
Ahead of the anniversary of the death of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen
– the first person to reach the South Pole, in December 1911 – Czech
travel agency Sen said that some 10 Czechs a year follow in his footsteps.
The North Pole is more popular, attracting some 20 Czechs adventurers
The numbers don’t take into account individuals who make arrangements outside of travel agencies. But with estimated costs of travelling to either pole exceeding twice the average Czech annual salary, their numbers likely could be counted on one hand, CTK reported.
A biggest group ever of Czech scientists, including nine women, are heading for their annual expedition to the Czech base on James Ross Island in the Antarctic. Apart from a long-term research of climate change, Czech scientists will also be testing various commercial products in local extreme weather conditions.
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Czech Republic’s Antarctic station J.G. Mendel located on James Ross Island, operated by Masaryk University in Brno. Annually, groups of scientists conduct research there from January – March. Over the decade there were significant successes and breakthrough results.
A 17-strong team of scientists has left from Brno’s Masaryk University for the Mendel Antarctic research station on James Ross Island. The Czech scientific mission on the island has for several years been studying ice formation and wildlife with regard to climate change. The team will this time round focus on a broader spectrum of plants and microorganisms on the island after previously studying them at selected locations only.
Scientists from Brno’s Masaryk University, back from James Ross Island, have revealed their automated weather station registered a record temperature of 17.8 degrees Celsius in the Antarctic last March. While the findings still have to be officially confirmed, the researchers already say it is further evidence of the impact of global warming.
Czech scientists from Brno’s Masaryk University who are just back from James Ross Island say they have evidence of record high temperatures in the Antarctic, confirmation of the process of global warming. The record high of 17.8 degrees Celsius was registered by one of the monitoring stations they set up in the area – this one at the top of Davies Dome iceberg 500 metres above sea level in March of last year. The Czech team also found a new type of bacteria living in the ground, which has appeared repeatedly in samples collected since 2007.