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 28, 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 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A giant wall of dust slowly moves north over the Phoenix area after a summer monsoon thunderstorm. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A rare baby Lemur is among several baby animals getting their public debut at a Cleveland zoo. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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