Climate Researchers Employ Tool From 1800s: Whaling Logs

New Bedford Whaling MuseumNEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — Maritime historians, climate scientists and ordinary citizens are coming together on a project to study 19th-century whaling ship logbooks to better understand modern day climate change.

Whaling ships kept meticulous daily logbooks of weather conditions during their often yearslong voyages searching the globe for the whales valued for their light-giving oil.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is transcribing and digitizing its logbooks as well as original data sources for the project, called Old Weather: Whaling.

The effort is a project of the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Kevin Wood is a climate science researcher at the University of Washington. He says by recovering as much weather data as possible, the information can be used to help create sophisticated computer models of the past climate and help predict future conditions.

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