August 2001-July 2005
Level of Access
This award will enable researchers to reconstruct daily weather conditions for New England over the past 300 years by compiling and analyzing written archives such as diaries, journals, agricultural records, and marine logs. These archives will be used to reconstruct daily weather maps that will be compared with recent climatic conditions. New England has a large number of lengthy weather archives and is a region sensitive to changing climatic conditions. The region is influenced by storm tracks and upper-air disturbances that impact the Canadian High, Icelandic Low and the Bermuda-Azores High from year-to-year.
Obtaining highly detailed and lengthy records of past climatic variability at the regional scale is important to better inform society about the range of climatic change in the lives of individuals. It is also important to develop records of past climatic conditions with daily resolution to evaluate how the number and magnitude of extreme climatic events (i.e., nor'Easters, hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms) have changed with time. It is these extreme events that can greatly affect individuals and communities.
The use of the 300-year record from New England and the reconstruction of synoptic conditions helps to infer differences in seasonality between cold years, warm years, and more common (i.e., normal) years during the Little Ice Age. Instrumental records over approximately the last 100 years provide time series for the evaluation of recent changes that may be representative of anthropogenically-induced conditions.
Daily weather conditions will be compiled in electronic format and placed on the World Wide Web. These data will be available to the general public, including schools, to use when evaluating changes in climate.
Zielinski, Gregory A., "Highly Detailed Reconstructions of New England Weather over the Past Few Centuries and Their Climatic Implications" (2006). University of Maine Office of Research and Sponsored Programs: Grant Reports. 188.