OLD SAILING RECORDS MAY SHED LIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Nov 26, 2015

By Michael Kramer

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A scientist in Calgary is journeying into the past – hoping that centuries of old sailing records will help humanity – understand today’s changing climate.

Maribeth Murray is the director of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary.

She’s launching a four-year project – two sift through archives on two continents.

Murray is hoping the careful records of weather, sea ice, wind and animal sightings – kept by fur traders and whaling captains – will expand  our knowledge of what the Arctic was once like.

The findings could then be used to test mathematical models of what the current climate is doing – and establish baselines to understand environmental change in the North.

The researcher says logbooks can be tough reading – but many of them come to life with the personalities of the sailors and traders – who were among the first Europeans to journey into the Arctic.

 

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