We often think about climate change as what is going to happen—what will the future world be like as a result of the changing climate? But in some ways, looking back at the past can also inform our understanding of climate change.
The Old Weather project does just that. Volunteers or “citizen scientists” can assist in the reading and transcribing historical documents (ship log books, mostly).
Looking back at the past allows for scientists to better model climate change. These log books from ships kept records of weather patterns, including data on temperatures and air pressure.
But why does a climate change project need help of citizen scientists?
By crowdsourcing the process of transcribing these historical documents, there is a smaller margin for mistakes. If multiple people transcribe the same document, errors can be caught and corrected. Additionally, it saves time.