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19th Century Whaling Logs A Boon To Climate Scientists

The whaler Belvedere at Point Franklin, Alaska, where it was trapped for months by Arctic ice. (U.S. Library of Congress)
The whaler Belvedere at Point Franklin, Alaska, where it was trapped for months by Arctic ice. (U.S. Library of Congress)

Whaling was a booming business in the 1800s. By some estimates, the dangerous trade was more lucrative than the gold rush. Today, the most valuable harvest from the whaling years might be the ship’s logbooks.

A team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington and the U.K. Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre are enlisting 22,000 volunteers from around the world to comb through hundreds of thousands of pages of old ships’ logs. From Here & Now contributor KUOW in Seattle, Ashley Ahearn reports.


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Reporter

  • Ashley Ahearn, environment reporter at KUOW and part of the multimedia collaborative project EarthFix. She tweets @aahearn.

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