Early European Instrumental Records

  • Philip D. Jones


The barometer and the first reliable thermometers were developed during the second half of the 17th century (Middleton, 1969). Only in a few cases, however, have series been developed for the entire length of available data. The earliest measurements are unlikely to be consistent with today’s readings for a variety of reasons. Potential problems relate to uncertainties in the accuracy of the instrumentation, the units used, exposure, observation times, and the availability of the measurements in original or published form. Across Europe there has been no systematic attempt to exploit the potential wealth of the early instrumental data. Most national meteorological agencies (NMAs), set up in the mid-nineteenth century, are unaware of the early, pre-nineteenth century records. Indeed many only acknowledge data that is readily available in digital form, even ignoring long series in manuscript form from the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. In many parts of Europe, there is potential for the development of long series back to the mid 18th century. Their development would enable at least 150 years of record to be analysed before the 20th century and the possible human modification of the climate system.


Zonal Wind Central Pressure British Isle Temperature Series Precipitation Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip D. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Climatic Research UnitUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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