From the UK’s National Archive:
A new partnership between JISC, the University of Sunderland, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Atmospheric Data Centre has enabled the use of historical naval logbooks in ground-breaking research on climate change. The logbooks include the famous voyages of Charles Darwin’s ship, the Beagle, Captain Cook’s HMS Discovery and William Parry’s polar expedition in HMS Hecla.
The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks (CORRAL) project has digitised nearly 300 ships’ logbooks dating back to the 1760s, the images of which can be viewed at badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/corral. For the first time, the accurate weather information they contain is being used as scientific data to reconstruct past climate conditions.
Research team leader Dr Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland said: ‘The observations from the logbooks on wind force and weather are astonishingly good and often better than modern logbooks. Of course, the sailors had to be conscientious – the thought that you could hit a reef was a great incentive to get your observations absolutely right!
Full article can be read here.