Researching Old Ship Logs

How cool is this! Volunteers are combing old ship logs to learn weather details for The Old Weather project. It is a way to fill in the gaps of our climate knowledge.  It also tells the story of the humans involved in the shipping industry and the human enjoyment and suffering of those on the ships.

“Mariners have long kept meticulous logbooks of weather conditions and descriptions of life onboard, and the National Archives in Washington, D.C., has pages and pages and pages of them recorded by sailors on Navy and Coast Guard vessels. Along with the basic weather observations, the logbooks contain amazing stories of adventure, survival and mystery. A bouquet of dried flowers was sandwiched in one logbook. Another log describes a 1,600-mile overland journey to bring reindeer to some stranded whalers. And then there are the logs of the USS Jeannette. Its journey began in San Francisco in 1879, an ill-fated attempt to find an open-water passage to the North Pole. Two months later, the Jeannette was surrounded by ice north of Siberia.”

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© 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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