Today sees the launch of the UK Colonial Registers & Royal Navy logbooks (CORRAL) project that helps address the growing need for reliable climatic data to help researchers in climate change.
This collaborative project between the MET Office, The National Archives, the British Climatological Data Centre and University of Sunderland is making historical Navy logbooks openly available online for anyone to access.
Containing a wealth of rich weather observations and climatic data, these logbooks offer climate scientists an astonishingly good record of climate data that can help inform climate studies today.
By making these historic logbooks available online researchers can learn lessons from the past that will help them make predictions about the climate in the future.
Complimenting the rich scientific data the logbooks contain, is also a wealth of historical data and personal observations about life onboard these ships.
Footnotes in the logs include descriptions from Captain Bligh of being tied up by crew members and subsequently escaping on the HMS Bounty to some rather graphic details of punishments given out onboard and accounts of near Polar Bear attacks on officers taking temperature readings.
Find out more about the project from the JISC Project page, and the CORRAL website. Or listen to Dr. Dennis Wheeler talk about the project in a recent podcast.