The Telegraph reports that Britain’s historic Royal Navy, which so long successfully defended the island nation from Continental invasion, is proving centuries later also in retrospect an effective defense against junk science.
Scientists have uncovered a treasure trove of meteorological information contained in the detailed logs kept by those on board the vessels that established Britain’s great seafaring tradition including those on Nelsons’ Victory and Cook’s Endeavour.
Every Royal Naval ship kept a detailed record of climate including air pressure, wind strength, air and sea temperature and major meteorological disturbances.
A group of academics and Met Office scientists has unearthed the records dating from the 1600s and examined more than 6,000 logs, which have provided one of the world’s best sources for long-term weather data.
Their studies have raised questions about modern climate change theories. A paper by Dennis Wheeler, a geographer based at Sunderland University, recounts an increasing number of summer storms over Britain in the late 17th century.
Many scientists believe that storms are caused by global warming, but these were came during the so-called Little Ice Age that affected Europe from about 1600 to 1850.
The records also suggest that Europe saw a spell of rapid warming, similar to that experienced today, during the 1730s that must have been caused naturally.
Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder’s runnin’ low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I’ll quit the port o’ Heaven,
An’ drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago.
–Sir Francis Drake, according to Henry Newbolt.