National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Whaling Logbooks Reveal Arctic Climate of the Past

In the Crow's Nest, watching for a 'blow'. "Thar she blows". Photo courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

December 03, 2015

Citizen scientists have a new opportunity to help reconstruct past climate by transcribing data from whaling ship logs. A massive collaboration among government and university scientists, archivists and museum curators, has unveiled Old Weather: Whaling, a sister project of Old Weather that is focused on the Pacific Arctic whaling industry that began in 1849. Volunteers mine massive amounts of sea-ice and weather data from the ship’s logs -- along with amazing stories of the Arctic whalemen. These data are fed to state-of-the-art retrospective analysis (reanalysis) systems and provide ground-truth for sea-ice and climate models, all contributing toward better understanding of the Arctic climate of the future.

Read more about Old Weather and Old Weather: Whaling as well as feature stories on NOAA Research and UW Today from the University of Washington.

Scientist(s): 
PMEL Project: