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UMass Dartmouth professor and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher receive $110,000 grant for historical climate change initiative

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The research project provides valuable longitudinal data to understand extreme weather over the centuries

UMass Dartmouth Professor Dr. Timothy Walker (History) and climate scientist Dr. Caroline Ummenhofer of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute received $110,000 from the National Science Foundation to continue their research project that involves the use of historical data from whaling ship logbooks to track climate change.

Walker has begun examining some of the more than 5,000 logbooks in Southern New England from the 1700 and 1800s for expertly kept weather data that he logs into a database. The data is then examined by Ummenhofer to understand how oceanic, wind, precipitation, and climate patterns have changed over hundreds of years.

“Our research program will make a vital contribution to the broad effort to understand the rhythms and variation of specific regional weather patterns over a much longer historical arc than has previously been possible — or even thought possible,” said Walker. “This, in turn, will inform our understanding of climate change since the beginning of the Industrial Age.”

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