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MEDIA REPORTS

CLIMATE AND ATMOSPHERE

This page was updated on: 01/14/10

 

2003

 

Climate and Atmosphere Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2002

DECEMBER 2003

 

SAILING SHIPS’ LOGS UNCOVER CLIMATE CLUES
Experts are tapping into old ships’ logbooks as a new source of information on climate change. The logbooks, which are up to 250 years old, come from the fleets of British, Dutch, French, and Spanish sailing ships that roamed the globe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Ships’ officers during that period often kept accurate records of the weather and atmospheric conditions on their travels. The team of experts, led by Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland in northern England, believes the data could provide a rich source of information on the global climate two centuries ago.

 

“For the first time, with the exception of the Pacific, we can show the daily climate change for all major oceans between 1750 and 1850 and compare it to today’s conditions,” Wheeler said in a recent interview. The project is expected to provide a vast amount of information on the weather at the time. There are a huge number of logbooks for the period still in existence, with over 250,000 in the UK alone.

 

Meanwhile, another team of scientists studying the world’s oceans has uncovered evidence that climate change is altering the global water system. According to a new report published in the journal Nature, researchers have discovered significant changes over recent decades in the salinity levels found in the world’s oceans. The changes suggest an acceleration of the Earth’s global water cycle, which in turn is likely to have an impact on rainfall levels, floods and droughts. It could also hasten the process of global warming due to an increase in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.

 

Links to further information

BBC News Service, 29 December 2003

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3344749.stm

ENS News Service, 19 December 2003

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2003/2003-12-19-01.asp