Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

18th Century Ships' Logs Predict Future Weather Forecast

Date:
October 6, 2009
Source:
University of Sunderland
Summary:
Historical naval logbooks are being used for the first time in research into climate change. The logbooks include famous voyages such as the Beagle, Cook’s HMS Discovery and Parry’s polar expedition in HMS Hecla.

Dr Dennis Wheeler launches the new project at HMS Trincomalee based at Hartlepool Marina.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Sunderland

One hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species revolutionised how we view the natural world. Now his voyages on HMS Beagle are influencing modern research on the evolution of our climate.

A ground-breaking partnership between JISC, the University of Sunderland, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Atmospheric Data Centre sees historical naval logbooks being used for the first time in research into climate change. The logbooks include famous voyages such as the Beagle, Cook’s HMS Discovery and Parry’s polar expedition in HMS Hecla.

The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks (CORRAL) project has digitised nearly 300 ships’ logbooks dating back to the 1760s. The accurate weather information they contain is being used to reconstruct past climate change – hitherto untapped scientific data.

Research team leader Dr Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland comments: “The observations from the logbooks on wind force and weather are astonishingly good and often better than modern logbooks. Of course the sailors had to be conscientious – the thought that you could hit a reef was a great incentive to get your observations absolutely right!

“What happens in the oceans controls what happens in the atmosphere – so we absolutely need to comprehend the oceans to understand future weather patterns,” he added.

Ships’ logbooks were the main resource used to monitor the weather in the oceans. Officers on these ships kept careful records of the daily, and sometimes hourly, climate conditions. What that means today is modern researchers are able to find out what the weather was like anywhere in the world on a particular day, right through the Little Ice Age and back to 1750.

Ben Showers, JISC digitisation programme manager, said: “There is a lack of high-quality digital material for those studying historic weather data. By making these logbooks and lighthouse records available online, from the National Archives and the Met Office respectively, JISC aims to help researchers address the challenges of climate change and open up this historic resource to everyone via the website.

“The Royal Navy logbooks online are an exciting part of JISC’s 1.8 million investment in enriching digital resources, a set of 25 projects which enhances online content for better teaching, learning and research.”

Oliver Morley, Director, Customer and Business Development at The National Archives agrees: “The logbooks have long been of interest to historians and naval enthusiasts and the fact that they are now being used for scientific research is a great example of how archival information created for one purpose can be reused for something entirely different”.

The logbooks include great explorers such as, Bligh, Cook and Flinders, and give unique accounts of life on board ship with plenty of footnotes and personal observations about life on board and the places and people they encountered on their voyages of exploration. A fully searchable version of the logbooks will be available on The National Archives’ website in 2010.

The researchers are now transcribing the officers’ observations so they can begin work with the Met Office on analysing the data to feed into research on climate change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sunderland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Sunderland. "18th Century Ships' Logs Predict Future Weather Forecast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006104627.htm>.
University of Sunderland. (2009, October 6). 18th Century Ships' Logs Predict Future Weather Forecast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006104627.htm
University of Sunderland. "18th Century Ships' Logs Predict Future Weather Forecast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006104627.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins