Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/39

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35
THE METEOROLOGY OF THE FUTURE

corresponding changes that have taken place in the orography of the continents, and the changes in the distribution of land and water. The great gorges that extend from the Hudson through New York Bay toward the Middle Atlantic and from the Congo on the western coast of Africa also into the mid-Atlantic prove beyond controversy that there was a time when the ocean level was 5,000 feet lower than now, relative to the land on either side. Of course we know that mountain ranges have risen gradually by successive slight earthquake rifts; that the surface of the globe has always been cracking and bending, rising here and falling there. When we are able to demonstrate clearly the connection between our present climates and our present surface orography, then we shall be able to show what geological climate must have prevailed in any other age if the geologists can tell us what were then the characteristics of the surface. I consider this to be the ultimate end of meteorology, namely, the logical deduction of the climate and the weather for any time and any given configuration of continents and oceans. When we have attained this goal; when meteorology has become more truly deductive, then we can pass to the satisfactory discussion of the great problems that we now can merely toy with like children. Then we shall know whether Mars is inhabitable, and whether man could possibly have existed and evolved anywhere on this earth during geological ages preceding the present.

I am safe in saying that it is impossible to foresee in detail the problems of the future meteorology. I have by a few special cases illustrated the general conclusion that a long array of unsettled problems confronts those who would understand the operations of our earth's atmosphere. The fundamental problem of to-day is to educate men for the work that we see is at hand. Friends of science and humanity must be found who will provide for the expenses of men able to work on these problems. We need laboratories, physicists and sympathetic supporters. Perhaps the very first step is to provide generous fellowships, securing a support for enthusiastic men who are adapted to these researches. Atmospheric phenomena are not too difficult for us, nor is there any known natural limit to our steady intellectual progress. Those who are attentive to the voice of nature hear a command like that given to Joshua, "Go up into the land and possess it." But we also hear the voice that said unto Adam, "In the sweat of thy brow shall the earth bring forth its fruit." Whatever is worth doing involves hard work both physical and intellectual. We have many years of work before us, many abstruse and difficult problems, but what we ask first and last is your kindly sympathy and hearty support until success crowns the end.