Crowdsourcing large-scale environmental data recovery for the North Pacific – Arctic region from 1850 to the satellite era

A novel collaboration between NOAA, the US National Archives and more than ten thousand citizen-scientists participating in the Old Weather project is making the Archives’ extensive collection of ship logbooks and the data they contain available in digital format for the first time. Millions of weather, sea ice and other environmental observations are recorded in these documents. Developing partnerships with the Providence Public Library and New Bedford Whaling Museum also provide access to a majority of the Arctic whaling ship logbooks that have been preserved. Data may also be extracted from resources at other US and international repositories. Together these records represent one of the largest unutilized reservoirs of marine-meteorological and environmental data in existence. In addition to providing information about regional climate and crucial input to both new and existing data products, recovered data drive extended sparse-input reanalyses that allow vastly more insight to be squeezed from old data than ever before. With enhanced access to raw data, innovative research tools can be developed to deal with massive volumes of descriptive material like historical sea ice observations or other non-instrumental variables. For key regions like the North Pacific – Arctic, where decadal-scale variability is large, lack of access to data known to exist but not available in digital form creates a significant barrier to advancement. The most economical way to obtain data necessary to improve understanding of lower-frequency climate variability and to develop new predictive skill is to recover observations that have already been recorded and diligently preserved for generations.


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    Website :: Project Summary

Status: Complete
Start Date: 2012/07/01
Type: Project
End Date: 2014/06/30
Primary Contacts
Name: Arfon Smith
Primary Organizations
North Pacific Research Board

Funding Organization
North Pacific Research Board

Other Organizations
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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