Understanding Past Weather to Improve Future Predictions
|Gilbert Compo, Jeffrey Whitaker, Prashant Sardeshmukh
Science Writer: Barb DeLuisi
An Interesting Data Subset — The Admiral Byrd Expedition
During the summer of 2006, PSD provided internship opportunities to several NOAA Hollings scholarship recipients. Two of these college-age students worked with Compo focusing on a subset of historical data from the Antarctic. In 1928 Admiral Richard E. Byrd a great explorer, scientist and aviation pioneer, set out on an expedition of Antarctica. Byrd and his crew took hourly surface measurements throughout 1929 at their base in Antarctica; "Little America." This is an important set of observations since data in the Southern Hemisphere during this time is very sparse. The only weather observations recorded near this area were taken from passing ships, and even then only taken every 6 hours. The students digitized the hourly measurements using optical character recognition. The data were then reviewed. The students blended the Byrd observations with any other available observations using the Kalman filter; the results are yet to be examined.
During their study of Byrd's adventures, the students discovered that some of the revamped data may help explain the atmospheric conditions that caused difficulties in some of Byrd's explorations. This additional data will also add to the completeness of the global data set.