Nov 26, 2015
By Michael Kramer
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.