« AnteriorContinuar »
about seventy years (36573,) a cycle was accomplished, must have, occurred with greater regularity than the rise
into which one of the 360 priests poured water from the How, then, was this 365-day year, which had been Nile daily. Krall adds :-i
introduced with such pomp and circumstance, regulated ? “ It is probable that the year of 360 days dates from This brings us to a new point. the time before the immigration into the Nile valley, when the Egyptians were unguided by the regular recur
The Heliacal Rising of Sirius. rence of the Nile flood. In any case, this must soon have convinced the priests that the 360-days year did not I have insisted upon the perfect regularity of the rise agree with the facts. But it is well known to everybody of the Nile affording the ancient Egyptians, so soon as familiar with these things how long a period may be re- this regularity had been established, a nearly perfect way quired before such determinations are practically realized, of determining the length of the year. especially with a people so conservative of ancient usages It is also clear that so soon as the greatest northing and as the Egyptians.
southing of the sun rising or setting at the solstices had Supposing the use of this 360-day year to have been been recognized, and that the intervals between them in universal, it is perfectly certain that the Egyptians, now days had been counted, a still more accurate way would in this part of the Nile valley, now in that, must have got be open to them, especially if, as I believe, the observations their calendar into the most hopeless confusion, compared of the solsticial risings or settings were made in temples with which " the year of confusion” was mere child's-play, (or observatories) accurately oriented to the proper ampliand that the exact determination of the times of sowing, tude. reaping, &c., by means of such a calendar would have In this way, then, the great natural festival of the year been next to impossible.
would be the nearly coincident commencement of the As each year dropped 51 days, it is evident that in inundation and the summer solstice. 36525
As I have said, the solstice might have, one may say 5-25
of the river, so that as accuracy of definition became more in which new year's day swept through all the months. The same month (so far as its name was concerned) was
necessary the solstice would be preferred. The solstice was
common to all Egypt, the commencement of the inundanow in the inundation time, now in the sowing time, and
tion was later as the place of observation was nearer the Of fixed agricultural work for such months as
mouth of the river. these there could be none. It must have been, then, that there were local attempts sunrise, each return of the sun
Now it seems as if among all ancient peoples each
-or of the sun-god-was to retain the coincidences between the beginning of hailed, and most naturally, as a resurrection from the the year and the Nile food and solstice; intercalation of sleep-the death-of night: with the returning sun, man days or even of months being introduced, now in one place, now in another; and these attempts, of course, living, of doing, of enjoying. The sun-god had conquered
found himself again in full possession of his powers of would make confusion worse confounded, as the months might vary with the district, and not with the time of the death, man was again alive. Light and warmth returned
with the dawn in those favoured eastern climes where year.
man then was, and the dawn itself was a sight, a sensation, That this is what really happened is, no doubt, the in which everything conspired to suggest awe and gratiorigin of the stringent oath required of the Pharaohs in
tude, and to thrill the emotions of even uncivilized man. after times, to which I shall subsequently refer.
What wonder, then, that sunrise was the chief time of This year of 360 days had naturally to give way, and it
prayer and thankfu!ness? But prayer to the sun-god ultimately did so in favour of one of 365. The precise meant, then, sacrifice, and here a practical detail comes date of the change is not known, but it is referred to in in, apparently a note of discord, but really the true germ inscriptions of the time of Amenemha 1. (circ: 2400 B.C.); of our present knowledge of the starry heavens which This, of course, does not exclude the possibility, indeed
surround us. even the probability, that it was introduced much earlier.
To make the sacrifice at the instant of sunrise, preparaThe five days were added as epacts or epagomena; the original months were not altered, but a "little month” of a ritual had to be followed; this required time, and a
tions had to be made, beasts had to be slaughtered, and five days was interpolated at the end of the year between certain definite quantity of it'; to measure this, the only Mesori of one year and Thoth of the next.
means available then was to watch the rising of a star, When the year of 365 days was established, it was
the first glimmer of which past experience had shown evidently imagined that finality had been reached ; and preceded sunrise by just that amount of time which the mindful of the consusion which, as we have shown, must ritual demanded for the various functions connected with have resulted from the attempt to keep up a year of 360 the sunrise sacrifice. days by intercalations, each Egyptian king on his accession to the throne bound himself by oath before the priest question the most solemn ceremonial of this nature in
This, perhaps, went on every morning, but beyond all of Isis, in the temple of Ptah at Memphis, not to intercalate either days or months, but to retain the year of the whole year was that which took place on New Year's 365 days as established by the Antiqui. The text of the morning, or the great festival of the Nile-rising and
summer solstice, the ist of Thoth. Latin translation preserved by Nigidius Figulus, cannot
How long these morning and special yearly cerebe accurately restored. Only thus much can be seen with
monials went on before the dawn of history we, of certainty. To retain this year of 365 days then became the first certainly known to us ; of course any star would do which
course, have no knowledge. Nor are the stars thus used law for the king, and indeed the Pharaohs thenceforth
rose at the appropriate time before the sun itself, whether throughout the whole course of Egyptian history adhered
the star was located either in the northern or southern to this year, in spite of their being subsequently con
heavens. But in historic times there is no doubt whatvinced, as we shall see, of its inadequacy for a long period. It was a Macedonian king who later made an attempt
ever about the star so used. The warning-star watched
by the Egyptians at Thebes, certainly 3000 B.C., was to replace it by a better one
Sirius, the brightest of them all, and there is much The years of 360 and 365 days to which we have so far
evidence that Sirius was not the star first used. referred are termed in the inscriptions the "little" and
“ Besides the solstice and the beginning of the Nile "great” years respectively.
Aood, there was an event in the sky which was too 1 Loc. cit., p. 20.
striking not to excite the general attention of the Egyptian 2 Mommsen, “ Chronologie," p. 258.
priesthood. We also know from the newly-discovered
inscriptions from the ancient empire that the risings of In these cases, which are, however, exceptional, the cold Orion and Sirius were already attentively followed and wave is sometimes evanescent. On the other hand, as mythologically utilized at the time of the building of the Mr. Eliot remarks, "the intensity and period (of the cold pyramids."
wave) largely depend on the amount of rainfall in Northern J. NORMAN LOCKYER. India and of the snowfall on the Himalayan mountain
regions, and the height to which the snow-line has (To be continued.)
descended.” As a rule, therefore, the cold wave follows the storm. Mr. Eliot gives, in his report, a table of the
changes of temperature from day to day from January 20, THE WINTER STORIIS OF NORTHERN to February 7, 1889, which includes two very characteristic INDIA.
illustrations of this phenomenon, and which therefore we
extract. The figures show the variations of the observed ΤΗΣ ‘HE physical constitution and history of the storms of India and Indian Seas is a subject which,
mean temperature of each day from the average of many almost from his first association with the Indian years for the same day. The crest of each warm wave is Meteorological Department, Mr. Eliot has made pecu
emphasized by strong type and the trough of each cold liarly his own. Besides nine elaborate, and, as far
wave by italics.
The history of these two storms is as follows, and it as possible, exhaustive, memoirs and reports on the history of particular storms, two on the tracks and which will presently be noticed more particularly. The
exhibits one or two remarkable and suggestive features, periodicity of the cyclones of the Bay of Bengal during the ten years 1877-1886, and an admirable hand-book, in in India) on January 22. There were two separate centres
first disturbance originated (or made its first appearance which he has summarized, for the guidance of seamen, the and areas of disturbance, one of which covered the characteristic features and behaviour of these storms, his Punjab Himalaya and adjacent plains from Sialkote to been replete with the results of his studies of the storms Roorkee. This filled up (apparently] on the 23rd, after of the current year; and to him is mainly due that giving moderate snow on the hills and light showers on development which has been effected in the system of and advanced, on the 23rd and 24th, in an easterly direc
the adjacent plains. The other originated in Rajputana, storm warnings for the coasts of India in recent years, and has rendered it one of the most efficient and com
tion, across Northern India into Burma. It gave moderate prehensive organizations for that purpose now in opera
general rain to the North-West Provinces and Central tion in any part of the world.
India, and light showers to Behar, Bengal, and Assam. Like most other features of the climate, the storms of This first storm was therefore of very moderate intensity. India differ very greatly in their leading characteristics at
The snowfall and rainfall were but slight, and in the different seasons of the year. We have, in the first place,
Punjab, Bengal, and Burma insufficient to bring down the the well-known cyclones and cyclonic storms of the Bay
temperature below the normal average. of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, which are most frequent
The second disturbance was one of greater intensity, but when the summer monsoon is at its height, and most sisted of a shallow depression, which passed into Sind
like its predecessor had a double centre. One part consevere at its commencement and termination. These are generated over some part of the tropical sea north of India, Behar, and Bengal, on the three following days,
from Baluchistan on the 28th, advanced through Central latitude 6, and travel, as is now well known, on tracks and into Burma on February 1, where it slowly filled up between west and north-most frequently north-west or west-north-west ; sometimes, however, in the spring
during the next three days. The other part was a deep and later months of the year, recurving to north-north
depression, which formed in the Northern Punjab on the east or even north-east, as they approach the tropic. In evening of the 28th, and during the next thirty-six hours virtue of their severity and destructiveness, these storms
marched slowly to the south-east along the southern face have attracted far more attention than any others, and
of the Punjab Himalayas. It filled up very rapidly on the not only Piddington's, but also the writings of most of evening of the 30th, and morning of the 31st of January,
in the South-Eastern Punjab. The double disturbance his successors, have been almost exclusively devoted to them.
gave a very heavy fall of snow over the whole of the Of a very different type are the storms that bring the
Western Himalaya, bringing the snow-line down to 3500 rainfall of the cold season and the earlier spring months
or 4000 feet, and also general rain to nearly the whole of to Northern India. It would be incorrect to speak of in the Punjab, the North-West Provinces, and Behar.
Northern and Central India, which was greatest in amount these as the storms of the winter monsoon (unless the As is shown by the table (see next page), the fall of term be understood, in its strictly etymological sense, as merely the name for a season of the year), for during their
temperature after this storm was proportionately great,
amounting to 9° in the Punjab, and to 14° or 15° on the passage the northerly winds are suspended over a great part of India, and, with the rarest exceptions, they never
mean of the day in Guzerat, Central India, and the Central penetrate far into the tropics. These storms, if they
Provinces. It continued three or four days after the
weather had cleared up, so that the trough of the cold travel, always move from west to east. They have the usual cyclonic constitution, but the winds have but little of five or six days, and each occupied three or four days in
wave followed the crest of the warm wave after an interval force; and it was not until the preparation of daily weather charts for the first time showed their true nature, that
passing from the Punjab to Burma. Mr. Eliot gives eight this fact was even suspected.
charts in illustration of these waves, of which we reproduce Many of the features of these cold-weather storms are
those for January 30 and 31 and February 1. They very striking and characteristic, and, as has been re
are projected for the observed temperatures at 8 a.m. of marked by Mr. Eliot in his reports for 1888 and 1889, the
those days, and show, not the temperatures themselves,
but the amounts by which these deviate in excess or temperature of Northern India in the cold season is chiefly determined by their number and character. Each
defect from the averages of many years at the same hour.
The isabnormals of deficient temperature are represented of them is preceded by a wave of high temperature, and by broken, those of excessive temperature by continuous followed by a cold wave; except, indeed -and the exception lines. is instructive-when the course of the storm is so far Mr. Eliot remarks that in the warm waves the greatest south of the Himalayas that little or no snow falls on the mountains (see " Climates and Weather of India,” p. 206).
excess is generally exhibited by the night temperatures ;
and in a table which he gives of the deviations of the ? Krall, op. cit., p. 45.
See also Brugsch, 'A:3. Z.it.," 188:, T. I, se 17. daily maxima and minima from their respective normal
values, it appears that those of the latter are from one and a half times to nearly twice as great as those of the former. On the other hand, in the cold waves which follow the storm, the day temperatures frequently show a greater relative depression than those of the night-time, indicating therefore that the nocturnal radiation under a clear sky is far from being the only cooling agency operative.
Notwithstanding this latter feature, the cold waves often bring about an inversion of the normal temperature relations between the hills and the plains, and that in a very remarkable degree. This was observed on no less than eleven nights in January 1889; and a very interesting paper on the subject was contributed by Mr.
+40 + 307
DAILY TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES (Deg. Fahr.).
+995 +10.9 +2.6
+44 + 386
+ 50 + 64 +0'5
+97 +104 +60
+39 + 6:1
Eliot to vol. lix., Part ii., of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. On one occasion, the figures of which are given, not only was the minimum night temperature of the hill stations (at elevations between 6000 and 8000 feet) from 8 to 13° higher than on the adjacent plains, but actually higher than anywhere on the Indo-Gangetic plain except only the coast districts of Bengal.
Before noticing the barometric seatures of these storms, let us see what is the probable explanation of their striking vicissitudes of temperature. The weather charts and reports
show that for a day or two previously to the appearance of | down the night temperature of the plains sometimes as the storm-centre in North-Western India light southerly much as 13. below that of mountain ridges at 7000 feet. or easterly winds prevail over Northern India, accom- It remains to notice the barometric features of these panied with increasing but not dense cloud, and a steady storins, for, if less striking than the vicissitudes of temrise of vapour tension, which, as Mr. Eliot points out, is perature that accompany them, they afford matter of much only in part explained by the increase of temperature interest, and suggest questions of a wider bearing than The distribution of the cloud is well marked and such as have reference merely to the local circumstances characteristic. “An examination of a large number of of the sub-tropical zone. The barometric depression of these storms shows that they invariably give light cloud these winter storms is as a rule very small, and the gradients to the south-east of their tracks, moderate cloud to the are very low. On the Indian weather charts the isobars east, and overcast skies to the north. In fact the largest are laid down for increments of one-twentieth of an inch ; development of cloud usually occurs in the northern and but it is seldom that the storm vortex, when launched on north-eastern portion of the depression, and at a con- the plains of India, is encircled by more than one or two siderable distance to the north of the depression, as closed isobars, and sometimes its position can only be indicated by the isobars, . . . and usually in the hill gathered from the figures in the accompanying table of districts, and adjacent plain districts of Northern India. the reduced barometric readings, or recognized by the Hence the cloud distribution appears to indicate that the oblique inflection of the wind arrows. Such was the case ascensional motion accompanying these storms com- with both the January storms, noticed above, which mences to the south, and proceeds slowly in the eastern travelled across India to Burma, and also the Punjab quadrant, and is completed in the northern quadrant. secondary depression of January 22, 1889. But that The cloud thins off rapidly in the north-west quadrant, which formed in the Punjab on January 28, and which is and in the west and south-west portions of the depression described as a stationary storm, was of a much more prothe skies are clear." These observations are very nounced character, and for three days determined the important; they show that the damp, warm air of leading features of the distribution of pressure all over southerly origin is absolutely restricted to the eastern North-Western India, the isobars being only slightly side of the depression, for it is, so to speak, hall-marked modified by the travelling depression further south. Of by its freight of vapour, and this manifests its presence, a similar type was the storm at the end of January 1883, and also indicates the region of its ascent and withdrawal of which illustrations are given in the report on the from the earth's surface, by forming a thick cloud canopy, meteorology of India for that year. This too appears to on the north and north-east chiefly. This too, of course, have lingered in the angle of the Punjab inclosed by the is the region of heaviest rain and snow fall.
Himalaya and the Afghan mountains, and the question The wave of warmth that precedes the depression is forces itself upon us, whether there is not something in thus clearly explained by the unseasonable replacement the physical features of this part of the country that of northerly by southerly winds; and since the warmth favours the development of such vortices, and detains depends not only on the derived temperature of the air, them while the feebler and shallower depressions that but also, and in a very great measure, on the check given form part of the same general disturbance, pursue their to nocturnal radiation by cloud and vapour, while it is course eastward across the plains. Mr. Eliot remarks not dense enough greatly to obstruct the solar rays, it is on the effect of the Himalaya in causing a forced ascent sufficiently obvious why the night temperatures should of the southerly vapour-bearing winds, thus localizing the show a greater excess than those of the day-time.
maximum precipitation on the north and north-east of the For the reduction of the temperature in the cold wave depression; and it is possible also that the angle at which that follows the depression, three distinct causes may be the mountain chains meet on the north of the Punjab, assigned : viz. the contact of a snow surface down to low inclosing the plain of that province, may not be without levels on the Himalaya and Afghan mountains, from its influence in favouring the development and detention which are drawn the north-west winds of the western of the vortex. half of the storm ; the evaporation of the rain that has It is still very obscure what are the general causes that fallen on the plains, and is rapidly taken up by the very determine the appearance of these storms in India. At dry air that has descended from the mountains; and one time it seemed to me probable that their origin was lastly, the increased nocturnal radiation in this dry to be sought for in the local conditions of India itself, and atmosphere under a cloudless sky. Of these it would even now I see no reason to question that, as distinct seem that the first and second are the most influential. vortices, very many, perhaps most, of them originate on This seems to be indicated by the facts already quoted, the plains of India; especially in such cases as the that the intensity of the cold largely depends on the succession of storms in the earlier part of January 1883, of rain and snow fall, and the level to which the latter which a brief description was given in the “ Climates and descends, also that when the storm centre lies so far Weather of India.” Mr. Eliot, too, seems to hold a similar south of the mountains that little or no snow is precipi- | view, since he speaks sometimes of storms“ forming” in tated on them, the cold wave does not always follow. It Rajputana, &c., sometimes merely as “first appearing" in is further supported by the fact noticed by Mr Eliot, that Sind, Rajputana, or the Punjab. But in some of these the relative depression of the day temperature in the instances there is evidence that the appearance of the cold wave is frequently greater than that of the night storm on the plains of the north-western frontier was hours. This effect of the snow is the more remarkable, preceded by stormy weather in Afghanistan, indicating when we consider that, in descending to the level of the that the disturbance had reached India from that country Indo-Gangetic plain, the air must, of course, be dyna- or Baluchistan; and Mr. Eliot distinctly identifies a storm mically heated about 5}" for each thousand feet of that appeared in the Punjab on January 9, 1889, with one descent. Nearly all this heat must have been expended that had been experienced at Bushire at the head of the in melting the snow, since the air arrives at the level of Persian Gulf, on the 7th and 8th. the plains dry and cold ; so much so, indeed, that the In this matter, we must distinguish between the further cooling it undergoes, in consequence of the barometric depression, which appears like the trough of evaporation of the rainfall and nocturnal radiation, brings a great atmospheric wave of very great extent both in
longitude and latitude, sweeping across the country from Some of the lowest temperatures hitherto recorded in Norihern India were thos: observed in the first week of February 1883, four or five days the westward, and the vortex, or in some cases vortices, after a storm which covered with snow the plain around Rawulpindi, only which are, as a rule, merely local and subordinate features 1700 feet above the sea; down to a level therefore unprecedented in the meteorological annals of India. Se- Report on the Mereorology of India in
of the former. No doubt, it is the passage of one of these 1883; also “Climates and Weather of India," p. 204.
troughs that in all cases determines the formation of the storm ; but, except when the advent of a vortex can be ". These fair tales which we hnow so beautiful distinctly traced to the highlands of the western frontier,
Show only finer than our lives to-day it seems very likely that its development and duration are
Because their voice was clearer and í hey found in some degree influenced by the local conditions of the
A sacred hard to sing them"land surface, such as have been already noticed in the so may we say of these manifestations of aërial action in case of the Northern Punjab; and its intensity would India. The phenomena are similar in kind to those seem to be mainly dependent on the amount of snow and that pass before our own eyes, but they stand out, rain that is precipitated.
accentuated by the circumstances of the climate and From what has been said above, the general resem. country, with a clearness and prerogative emphasis that hlance of the winter storms of Northern India to those we may seek for in vain in the confused and kaleido
sf our own latitudes will be sufficiently obvious. In their scopic weather phases of these latitudes. We read eastward movements, the localization of the rainfall, their meaning almost at a glance, as we gather that the contrasted temperature conditions of the opposite of a printed page, and have not laboriously to pick quadrants, and many other particulars, we may recognize out and piece together the obscure facts that express it, their essential identity. But certain features which are as with painful effort we might decipher the faded and more or less blurred in our European storms, in those that half-concealed characters of a monkish palimpsest. And by we are now dealing with stand out with much clearer good fortune, we have at the head of the Indian Meteorodefinition; and they seem calculated to throw not a little logical Department an accomplished mathematician and light on the still vexed question of storm generation, and physicist, who appreciates to the full the rich opportuniperhaps to reconcile some of the very conflicting views ties of his charge, and who knows how to marshal and that now prevail on this subject. As Mr. Lewis Morris interpret his facts as well as record them. ways of the old Greek myths
HENRY F. BLANFORD.
THE MAGNETIC STORJI OF FEBRUARY
“The first increase in the horizontal force was followed 13-14, 1892.
by a rapid decrease, the force falling to much less than
its usual strength, with rapid changes. Its change during THE Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory the storm was 25 per cent. of its mean strength. The
sends us the following records of the magnetic storm vertical force decreased so much that the sensitive of February 13 :
balanced magnet used to record it was upset at 8 p.m. of ** The records of this unusually severe magnetic the 13th, and its further record lost. storm are of especial interest as occurring at the same “The auroræ were seen at Washington at about 2 a.m. time as the fine displays of auroræ and the appearance of and 7.30 p.m. of the 13th, the latter time being marked by a large group of sun-spots.
an unusually disturbed condition of the magnets.”
** The magnetic storm commenced suddenly at 12.40 a.m.
MILLIAJ DITTJAR. 5th meridian time), February 13, with a movement of the north end of the declination magnet to the westward, All who take an interest in the progress of chemistry vertical components of the earth's magnetic force. circle feel that they have lost an invaluable friend. Born
“ The north end of the declination magnet remained to at Umstadt, near Darmstadt, April 15, 1833, he was the the westward of its normal position until 10.30a.m., when second son of Fritz Dittmar, then Assessor at Umstadt, it crossed to the eastward, all the time oscillating violently, afterwards Landrichter at Ulrichstein, in Ober-Hessen, and did not return to the normal until 8 p.m. of the 13th, where he took a part in the movements of 1848 disafter which it kept oscillating on each side of its mean pleasing to the Hessian Government, who removed him position until the end of the storm. It registered a change from office, allowing him to retire on a pension. At the f direction of 11
age of sixteen, therefore, William became a resident in