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


Fig 5, Map of reconstructed SLP, 1750AD. The importance of ship log data: reconstructing North Atlantic, European and Mediterranean sea level pressure fields back to 1750

Climate Dynamics
Published online 28 April 2009. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0577-9

M. Küttel1, E. Xoplaki1,2, D. Gallego3, J. Luterbacher1,4, R. García-Herrera5, R. Allan6, M. Barriendos7, P.D. Jones8, D. Wheeler9, H. Wanner1
1 Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR), and Institute of Geography, Climatology and Meteorology, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
2 The Cyprus Institute, EEWRC, Nicosia, Cyprus
3 Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
4 Department of Geography, Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate Change, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany
5 Departamento de Física de la Tierra II, Facultad de CC Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
6 Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
7 Department of Modern History, University of Barcelona, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
8 Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
9 Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland SR1 3PZ, UK
ABSTRACT:
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 pre-1850 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.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
Reconstructed Sea Level Pressure:
Data Description
Gridded SLP Reconstruction Data File 1750-2002
Data Visualization Page

To read or view the full study, please visit the SpringerLink website.
It was published in Climate Dynamics, Published online 28 April 2009. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0577-9
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