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Digitizing weather observations from World War II US naval ship logbooks

Teleti, P. ORCID:, Hawkins, E. ORCID: and Wood, K. R. (2023) Digitizing weather observations from World War II US naval ship logbooks. Geoscience Data Journal. ISSN 2049-6060

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/gdj3.222


The number and coverage of weather observations over the oceans were considerably reduced during World War II (WW2) due to disruptions to normal trade routes. The observations that do exist for this period are often unavailable to science as they are still only available as paper records or scanned images. We have rescued the detailed hourly weather observations contained in more than 28,000 logbook images of the US Navy Pacific Fleet stationed at Hawai'i during 1941–1945 to produce a dataset of more than 630,000 records. Each record contains the date and time, positional information and several meteorological measurements, totalling more than 3 million individual observations. The data rescue process consisted of a citizen science project asking volunteers to transcribe the observations from the available images, followed by additional quality control processes. This dataset not only contains hourly weather observations of air temperature, sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and wind direction, mainly in the Pacific Ocean but also includes some observations from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The new observations are found to be of good quality by inter-comparing independent measurements taken on ships travelling in convoy and by comparing with the 20th-Century Reanalysis. This dataset provides invaluable instrumental weather observations at times and places during WW2, which fill gaps in existing reconstructions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:113346


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