Wegener's work included studies of noctilucent clouds, auroras
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©1999. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 80, Issue 32, pages 357–361, 10 August 1999
How to Cite
1999), Wegener's work included studies of noctilucent clouds, auroras, Eos Trans. AGU, 80(32), 357–361, doi:10.1029/EO080i032p00357-01.(
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
The 120th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) occurs next year and the event gives us an opportunity to commemorate his work. While the study of continental drift was a significant part of that work, Wegener's influence is also apparent in other areas of the geosciences, including solar-terrestrial physics, the physics of the upper atmosphere, and meteorology.
Wegener's research in these areas was a continuation of a series of early studies by a number of scientists trying to explain atmospheric phenomena with the known laws of physics. His studies of noctilucent clouds and of auroras, for example, are significant in the context of the history of science as early experiments to explain the terrestrial atmosphere from a profoundly physical point of view. His contributions are building blocks to modern, comprehensive, physical interpretations, just as previous studies were building blocks to his. Wegener followed the same goal, namely the physical explanation of observed and recorded phenomena, and he belonged therefore to that group of researchers who contributed to the early development of geoscience and cosmoscience and whose heritage should be conserved.