The importance of ship log data: reconstructing North Atlantic, European and Mediterranean sea level pressure fields back to 1750



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Küttel, M. and Xoplaki, E. and Gallego, D. and Ñuterbarcher, J. and García Herrera, Ricardo and Allan, R. and Barriendos, M. and Jones, P.D. and Wheeler, D. and Wanner, H. (2010) The importance of ship log data: reconstructing North Atlantic, European and Mediterranean sea level pressure fields back to 1750. Climate dynamics, 34 (7-8). pp. 1115-1128. ISSN 0930-7575

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Local to regional climate anomalies are to a large extent determined by the state of the atmospheric circulation. The knowledge of large-scale sea level pressure (SLP) variations in former times is therefore crucial when addressing past climate changes across Europe and the Mediterranean. However, currently available SLP reconstructions lack data from the ocean, particularly in the pre1850 period. Here we present a new statistically-derived 5° x 5° resolved gridded seasonal SLP dataset covering the eastern North Atlantic, Europe and the Mediterranean area (40°W–50°E; 20°N–70°N) back to 1750 using terrestrial instrumental pressure series and marine wind information from ship logbooks. For the period 1750–1850, the new SLP reconstruction provides a more accurate representation of the strength of the winter westerlies as well as the location and variability of the Azores High than currently available multiproxy pressure field reconstructions. These findings strongly support the potential of ship logbooks as an important source to determine past circulation variations especially for the pre-1850 period. This new dataset can be further used for dynamical studies relating large-scale atmospheric circulation to temperature and precipitation variability over the Mediterranean and Eurasia, for the comparison with outputs from GCMs as well as for detection and attribution studies.

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© Springer-Verlag 2009. We are grateful for accessing instrumental pressure series as well as information from the CLIWOC project. A. Moberg and P. Woodworth kindly provided the instrumental pressure series from Stockholm and Liverpool. The authors thank Franz Kuglitsch for homogenizing the instrumental pressure series. MK, JL, and EX have been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) through its National Center of Competence in Research on Climate (NCCR Climate) project PALVAREX2. MK and DG were also supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) activity entitled Mediterranean Climate Variability and Predictability (MedCLIVAR). EX has also been supported by the EU/ FP6 project CIRCE (grant 036961), JL by the EU/FP7 project ACQWA (grant 212250), MB and DW by the MILLENNIUM Project (IP 017008-2), PDJ by the U.S. Department of Energy (grant DEFG02-98ER62601). RA was supported by the international ACRE (atmospheric circulation reconstructions over the Earth) initiative. ACRE is an international collaborative project led by a consortium of the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence (QCCCE) in Australia, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the UK, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. This publication was financially supported by the Foundation Marchese Francesco Medici del Vascello. Finally, we thank the reviewers for the constructive comments that improved the quality of the paper. The SLP reconstruction is available from the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology:

Uncontrolled Keywords:Daily Milan temperature; Daily air-temperature; Precipitation variability; Maunder minimum; Wind force; Atmospheric circulation; CLimate reconstruction; Surface-temperature; Series 1763-1998; Winter severity
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Atmospheric physics
ID Code:61759
Deposited On:02 Sep 2020 12:04
Last Modified:03 Sep 2020 06:34

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