Old Weather.

Yesterday’s weather for tomorrow’s climate.

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The great maritime explorers of the last few centuries are long gone, but their observations live on in the yellowing pages of their log books. By digitising these records, climate scientists around the world have access to a more complete picture of the climate hundreds of years ago, so they can better predict what will happen now, at this crucial phase in human history. Old Weather uses the unique human skills of pattern recognition and detection to recover weather records from our past, which are used in climate models to predict and understand our future. It combines an elegant interface, a unique social element and the power of the crowd to create a rewarding experience for every user.


October 2010.

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Rewarding Humans...

The human eye is often mightier than the computer; recognising patterns in hand writing is second nature to us, but often extremely difficult for computers. To get hundreds or thousands of people to lend their eyes and pattern recognition talents, we needed to build a rewarding experience. The beautiful visualisations and the social recognition of efforts keep people on board.

Old Weather-highlight

...for Important Work

Climate change is one of the key issues of our time. Contributing to the science and our understanding of it could help improve our models, so we can prepare for what’s to come. That kind of impact is why we love working on these kinds of projects.

What are people saying about it?

Old Weather-opinion

“A new project aims to use old Royal Navy logbooks to help build a more accurate picture of how our climate has changed. [...] By getting an army of online human volunteers to retrace these voyages we can re-live both the climate of the past and key moments in naval history.”


Old Weather-opinion

“Old Weather thus manages to combine crowdsourced citizen science with climate research, naval history, a sense of narrative and vigorous competition between the crews of different virtual ships. That's a pretty impressive combination. Jump aboard!”

The Economist

Old Weather-opinion

“The writing in these logs ranges from scribe-quality copperplate to slapdash and scruffy, and computers make too many errors to be useful for transcribing them. But human eyes and brains are good at interpreting written words.”


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