History

The Quest to Scan Millions of Weather Records

Read the full story at CityLab.

Deep in the dusty catalogs of weather stations and meteorological offices all over the world are hidden treasures. They’re easy to miss if you’re not looking for them, often taking the form of piles of moldy papers. But on those pieces of paper are hundreds of years of weather records—data that could make climate science far more accurate.

The International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO) estimates that there are 100 million paper-strip charts—records that list weather conditions—sitting in meteorological storage facilities throughout the world. That’s about 200 million observations unused by scientists, data that could greatly improve their models. Now, a few small groups of scientists are trying digitize these records, but they’re facing all kinds of obstacles.

Climate scientists often bemoan the lack of historic records. There are the famous data sets: the Vostok ice core drilled in the 1970s that looks back about 400,000 years, the Keeling curve started in 1958, data from satellites that watch sea ice retreat starting around 1979. But these are spot points in specific places that only span a short amount of time. To truly understand climate, researchers need a global records that reaches back hundreds of years.

Charles Darwin’s evolutionary reading: HMS Beagle’s library goes online

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The lost collection of books that kept Charles Darwin company aboard HMS Beagle and provided inspiration for his later works on evolution has been made publicly available for the first time today.

Hundreds of titles that filled the shelves of the ship’s library on Darwin’s five-year circumnavigation of the globe in the 1830s have been brought together and made freely available through the Darwin Online Beagle Library project.

Google Doodle Honors Conservationist Rachel Louise Carson

Read the full story in Time.

The blue scene portrayed in Tuesday’s Google Doodle honors a very green woman.

To celebrate what would have been nature author and conservationist Rachel Louise Carson’s 107th birthday, Google put her in her natural habitat—surrounded by birds and sea creatures. Carson was born in 1907 and began her career as a marine biologist. She became a writer in the 50′s and her 1951 work, The Sea Around Us, won a National Book Award.

Rachel Carson Google Doodle

Stunning images of America’s environments are returning to public view — and acclaim

Read the full story at MinnPost.

As a dazzling catalog of this country’s myriad environments, often under siege, the DOCUMERICA project would be hard to top.

Just now returning to public view, DOCUMERICA’s 80,000 images form a stunning record of American life, work and landscape at the dawn of modern environmental consciousness, in the early 1970s.

Over the next year they will be coming out of the National Archives for a series of traveling displays. But already some 15,000 images – including more than 500 made in Minnesota – can be viewed online.