Was last year really the warmest on record? As soon as NOAA published its official announcement in January, this question invaded the web feeding blogs, online newspapers and forums with passionate discussions. Relevant or pointless? The question is not so much knowing whether or not a new record was broken. Should 2014 rank second or third, this wouldn’t change the big picture: last year, temperatures on our planet continued the existing long-term positive trend. On top of that, the story is a bit thicker than the one single number obtained when averaging near-surface air temperatures in time and space. So, 2014: year of extremes or warm year in a changing climate?
2014 was a warm year for much of Europe and the globe, and may end up being the warmest year on record globally. But, no-one experiences a global mean temperature directly, so how about more locally? Can the signal of a warming climate be seen?
Ideally, we would have observations of past weather everywhere for several centuries to reconstruct the state of the atmosphere and learn about its variability. But, we don’t.
Instead, all the observations ever taken would, ideally, be available digitally for everyone to use. But, they aren’t. Many past observations are buried in hand-written journals and logbooks, gathering dust in libraries and archives all over the world. Rescuing this data would be of great benefit to reconstructing past weather, as this example will show. Continue reading Improving the weather from 96 years ago
A recent article on the BBC website said:
The UK has experienced its “weirdest” weather on record in the past few months, scientists say.
The question today is then, is this true? Continue reading How “weird” has UK weather been in 2012?
Previous posts have described some initial analysis of the data from the Old Weather project, which is using public volunteers to digitise new historical weather observations from Royal Navy ships during World War 1. The good news is that these observations will improve our knowledge of the atmospheric circulation. Continue reading The value of old weather observations
In a previous post I discussed the Old Weather project which is using volunteers to transcribe the hand-written weather data from Royal Navy ships logs in the World War 1 period. The good news is the first 243 ships have been completed (providing data scattered throughout the period 1914-1923), and some simple analysis shows whether this data can help reconstruct past Atlantic atmospheric variability. Continue reading Reconstructing Atlantic atmospheric variability
Understanding the climate of the past is extremely valuable to help put modern weather observations into a long-term context. Although we have considerable records of past weather, especially over land, more data is always welcome. Given the British obsession with the weather it is perhaps of no surprise that more data is available, it is just buried in hand-written logbooks. Transcribing this data is normally a time-consuming and expensive task…. Continue reading Learning about past climate from ships logs