ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2011) — From the hurricane that smashed into New York in 1938 to the impact of the Krakatoa eruption of 1883, the late 19th and 20th centuries are rich with examples of extreme weather. Now an international team of climatologists have created a comprehensive reanalysis of all global weather events from 1871 to the present day, and from the earth's surface to the jet stream level.
The 20th Century Reanalysis Project, outlined in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, not only allows researchers to understand the long-term impact of extreme weather, but provides key historical comparisons for our own changing climate.
"Producing this huge dataset required an international effort to collate historical observations and recordings from sources as diverse as 19th century sea captains, turn of the century explorers and medical doctors, all pieced together using some of the world's most powerful supercomputers at the US Department Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in California and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee," said lead author Dr Gil Compo.
"The resulting weather maps, called reanalyses, provide a much longer record of past weather variability than is currently available to compare present and projected weather variability in a warming climate. They also provide a valuable insight into extreme weather and climate events that were historically important, such as the 1930's Dust Bowl."
Dr. Compo leads the 20th Century Reanalysis Project (20CR) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (a joint project of NOAA and the University of Colorado) Climate Diagnostics Center with colleagues Dr. Jeffrey Whitaker of NOAA, Dr. Prashant Sardeshmukh of NOAA and the CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, and Dr. Rob Allan of the United Kingdom Met Office Hadley Centre. The 20CR is produced in partnership with the Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and 36 other international organisations....
....."This reanalysis data will enable climate scientists to rigorously evaluate past climate variations compared to climate model simulations, which is critical for building confidence in model projections of regional changes and high-impact, extreme events," concluded Compo. "We hope that this 138 year reanalysis data will enable climate researchers to better address issues such as the range of natural variability of extreme events, including floods, droughts, extratropical cyclones, and cold waves."
H/T Nick Mabbs
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