Scientists seek lost pieces of the climate puzzle

International climate scientists, including members of the SEARCH team, will meet in New Zealand next week as part of an immense global effort to recover lost weather data from the past.

The Asian-Pacific Network (APN) for Global Change Research workshop in Auckland on September 27–29 will discuss the latest research using recovered weather information, often from handwritten sources such as historical weather station diaries, ship records and explorers’ logs.

The effort to uncover and digitise this rare weather information will be vital to understanding climate variability and change in the Australasian–Pacific region.

With increasing concern about climate change, variability, and extremes, there is an urgent need for reliable, high-quality instrumental observations of past weather conditions.

On a global level, the international Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative has been instrumental in promoting the rescue of lost weather data and linking various international research projects that reconstruct past weather conditions.

Unfortunately, many valuable historical observations in the Australasian-Pacific region are hidden away in archives, limiting our understanding of how the current human-induced climate change fits into the context of regional variability.

The Auckland meeting aims to tackle this issue, allowing the region’s scientists to share the latest reconstructed data, creating longer and more detailed climate records.

These records will then help researchers to test the accuracy of current climate model projections, and to constrain future climate model scenarios.

The meeting is being coordinated by SEARCH research partner Dr Andrew Lorrey of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.