Scientists have uncovered a treasure trove of meteorological information contained in the detailed logs kept by those on board the vessels that established Britain's great seafaring tradition including those on Nelsons' Victory and Cook's Endeavour.
Every Royal Naval ship kept a detailed record of climate including air pressure, wind strength, air and sea temperature and major meteorological disturbances.
A group of academics and Met Office scientists has unearthed the records dating from the 1600s and examined more than 6,000 logs, which have provided one of the world's best sources for long-term weather data.
Many scientists believe that storms are caused by global warming, but these were came during the so-called Little Ice Age that affected Europe from about 1600 to 1850.
The records also suggest that Europe saw a spell of rapid warming, similar to that experienced today, during the 1730s that must have been caused naturally.
"British archives contain more than 100,000 Royal Navy logbooks from around 1670 to 1850 alone," [Sunderland University geographer] Mr Wheeler said. "They are a stunning resource. Global warming is a reality, but our data shows climate science is complex. It is wrong to take particular events and link them to carbon dioxide emissions.”
The Royal Navy recordings would have been consistent, using the same units of measure, the same instruments, made by officers trained to observe their surroundings and to record their observations. I doubt one could find more definitive records than those in the thousands of Royal Navy logbooks. There can be no “adjusting” the climate records as has been done by some researchers (anyone remember the Mann 'hockeystick' graph?), no explaining away the measurements made, no way to claim some kind of bias in the data collected. This data was collected through observation and measurements made by trained observers. Should the data show global warming is part of a natural cycle, it could be a major blow against the AGW faithful.
(H/T Never Yet Melted and Maggie's Farm)