Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1115–1128

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

  • M. Küttel
  • E. Xoplaki
  • D. Gallego
  • J. Luterbacher
  • R. García-Herrera
  • R. Allan
  • M. Barriendos
  • P. D. Jones
  • D. Wheeler
  • H. Wanner
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0577-9

Cite this article as:
Küttel, M., Xoplaki, E., Gallego, D. et al. Clim Dyn (2010) 34: 1115. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0577-9

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° × 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.

Keywords

Sea level pressureClimate field reconstructionsLogbooksInstrumental pressure seriesEuropePrincipal component regression

Supplementary material

382_2009_577_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
Seasonal average number of records per 8° x 8° grid box CLIWOC 2.1 1750-1850 (PDF 1061 kb)
382_2009_577_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (360 kb)
Temporal evolution of the seasonal u-vector [m/s] 1850-2002 for different 8° x 8° grid boxes spread across the North Atlantic using the full, i.e. not sampled ICOADS data set (black thick line) and sampling ICOADS according to the average number of records in a particular grid box in CLIWOC 1750-1850 (see supp. Online Fig. 1). The red line is based on one single sampling iteration, the blue line is the median of 5 iterations. The title of each box indicates the centre of the grid box and the average number of records of this particular box in CLIWOC 1750-1850 and ICOADS 1850-2002, respectively. The legend in the box refers to the mean and standard deviation of the series over the 153 year period (PDF 359 kb)
382_2009_577_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (210 kb)
Spring mean SLP from independent instrumental pressures series (red lines) and as reconstructed at the corresponding 5°x5° grid box (black lines) for Palermo (Barriendos et al. 2009), Liverpool (Woodworth 2006), and Stockholm (Moberg et al. 2002). The correlation coefficients are 0.73 (Palermo), 0.64 (Liverpool), and 0.87 (Stockholm), all significant at the 99% significance level (PDF 210 kb)
382_2009_577_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (213 kb)
As Supp. Online Fig. 3, but for summer. The correlation coefficients are 0.68 (Palermo), 0.35 (Liverpool), and 0.82 (Stockholm), all except for Liverpool (p<0.1) being significant at the 99% significance level (PDF 213 kb)
382_2009_577_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (209 kb)
As Supp. Online Fig. 3, but for autumn. The correlation coefficients are 0.69 (Palermo), 0.87 (Liverpool), and 0.88 (Stockholm), all significant at the 99% significance level (PDF 208 kb)
382_2009_577_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (73 kb)
Overview of the instrumental pressure series (PDF 72 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Küttel
    • 1
  • E. Xoplaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Gallego
    • 3
  • J. Luterbacher
    • 1
    • 4
  • R. García-Herrera
    • 5
  • R. Allan
    • 6
  • M. Barriendos
    • 7
  • P. D. Jones
    • 8
  • D. Wheeler
    • 9
  • H. Wanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR), and Institute of Geography, Climatology and MeteorologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.The Cyprus InstituteEEWRCNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y NaturalesUniversidad Pablo de Olavide de SevillaSevillaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Geography, Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate ChangeJustus-Liebig University of GiessenGiessenGermany
  5. 5.Departamento de Física de la Tierra II, Facultad de CC FísicasUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  6. 6.Met Office Hadley CentreExeterUK
  7. 7.Department of Modern HistoryUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  8. 8.Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  9. 9.Faculty of Applied SciencesUniversity of SunderlandSunderlandUK