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The First International Conference on Oceanography (Brussels, 1853)
Houvenaghel, G. (1990). The First International Conference on Oceanography (Brussels, 1853). Dtsch. Hydrogr. Z. 22: 330-336
In: Deutsche hydrographische Zeitschrift = German Journal of Hydrography. Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH)/Deutsches Hydrographisches Institut: Hamburg; Rostock. ISSN 0012-0308, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Aquatic sciences > Marine sciences
    Aquatic sciences > Marine sciences > Earth sciences > Oceanography
    Historical account
    Belgium [Marine Regions]

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  • Houvenaghel, G., more

    M. F. Maury, head of the U.S. Naval Observatory. started to compile meteorological and sea surface data from the logbooks. This allowed him, during the 1840's to expand knowledges in descriptive oceanography. Willing to extend the geographical coverage of his data bank and chartings, Maury wanted to involve merchant navy as well as ships from other nations. This led him to consider favourably projects of universal networks for meteorological data collection such as proposed by the Russian Kupffer in the early 1850's. Maury tried to establish such co-operation when British and US officials came together to uniformize their network. Maury did not succeed to bring the project at an international level. Instead, he only was allowed to call upon an international maritime conference excluding land meteorology. He managed to get scientific support and tried to settle a conference in Paris. Different problems made it not possible in France at that time. Quetelet, Director of the Royal Observatory in Brussels and Secretary of the Royal Academy in Belgium, helped Maury to call up the conference in Brussels in 1853. Attended by naval representatives from the Ieading maritime countries, the Maritime Conference covered topics fundamental for establishing a worldwide data collection network; among them, technical and scientifical matters concerning the parameters to be observed, the instruments, scale and units for the measures and the log sheets to standardize the records. Thank to this Conference, the first international co-operation towards a world-wide oceanographic and meteorological data bank was settled in 1853. Through this, oceanography gaining new and standardized basic tools became a modern science.

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