Old Logs Not Old Trees Reveal Climate Change Details
Britain's great seafaring tradition is to provide a unique insight into modern climate change, thanks to thousands of Royal Navy logbooks that have survived from the 17th century onwards.
The logbooks kept by every naval ship, ranging from Nelson’s Victory and Cook’s Endeavour down to the humblest frigate, are emerging as one of the world’s best sources for long-term weather data.
A preliminary study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise questions about climate change theories. One paper, published by Dr Dennis Wheeler, a Sunderland University geographer, in the journal The Holocene, details a surge in the frequency of summer storms over Britain in the 1680s and 1690s.
Many scientists believe storms are a consequence of global warming, but these were the coldest decades of the so-called Little Ice Age that hit Europe from about 1600 to 1850.
Wheeler and his colleagues have since won European Union funding to extend this research to 1750. This shows that during the 1730s, Europe underwent a period of rapid warming similar to that recorded recently – and which must have had natural origins.
Hints of such changes are already known from British records, but Wheeler has found they affected much of the north Atlantic too, and he has traced some of the underlying weather systems that caused it. His research will be published in the journal Climatic Change.
The ships’ logs have also shed light on extreme weather events such as hurricanes. It is commonly believed that hurricanes form in the eastern Atlantic and track westwards, so scientists were shocked in 2005 when Hurricane Vince instead moved northeast to hit southern Spain and Portugal.
Many interpreted this as a consequence of climate change; but Wheeler, along with colleagues at the University of Madrid, used old ships’ logs to show that this had also happened in 1842, when a hurricane followed the same trajectory into Andalusia....
Wheeler makes clear he has no doubts about modern human-induced climate change. He said: “Global warming is a reality, but what our data shows is that climate science is complex and that it is wrong to take particular events and link them to CO2 emissions. These records will give us a much clearer picture of what is really happening.”
Of course he has to be suitably obsequious and recite a public belief in the catechism of the AGW theory, if he was sceptic do you think he would find it easy to be funded?